De-militarize the South China Sea
No to Balikatan war games

Bayan denounces the PH-US Balikatan war games that begin amid tension in the West Philippine Sea.

We believe that the US is merely taking advantage of our dispute with China in order to reclaim its military presence in the country through the Visiting Forces Agreement. Like China, the US is also an imperialist power with its own agenda of being a superpower in this region of the world. The US wants the public to believe that it will defend Philippine interests in the West Philippine Sea, but such has not materialized. What is accomplished in the Balikatan war games is US power projection in Asia, not the defense of our sovereign rights.

It is also important to note that US military exercises are tied to US military aid to the Philippines. Duterte himself has sought increased US military aid in exchange for retaining the VFA. The military aid will be used for counter-insurgency and against the Filipino people, not as part of external defense against China. For the longest time, US military aid has been used to kill Filipinos and violate human rights.

We must stand resolutely against China but we should be wary of other imperialist powers seeking to use the dispute for their own narrow interests. We must avail of all legal and diplomatic avenues to assert our legal victory in the West Philippine Sea, while retaining our sovereignty against traditional imperialist powers like the US. We reiterate our call to demilitarize the South China Sea, to remove the Chinese military bases as well as US naval fleet that may at any time escalate the conflict. #


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