Message to the Filipino people on the occasion of “Independence” Day

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan
June 12, 2024

On the 126th anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence, Bayan calls on the people to fight for genuine freedom against imperialism, in particular US imperialist domination of the Philippines. The Philippines is not truly free. The US remains the biggest threat to Philippine sovereignty today as it engages in an inter-imperialist conflict with China and foments war through expanded US military presence in the country. The US is the main imperialist power in the Philippines, while China is a rising imperialist power and current rival of the US. Between the two imperialist powers competing for dominance in the region, it is US imperialism which has deeper roots and greater influence in the Philippines economically, politically, culturally and militarily. It is the US which has a long track-record of colonialism and neo-colonialism in our country.

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Historically, it was the US which undermined the establishment of an independent Philippine state when the US colonized the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century, preventing Filipinos from enjoying their hard-won victory against Spanish colonialism. The US promised to help us against Spanish colonialism but was really intent on colonizing the Philippines and buying the colony from Spain for $20 million as part of the Treaty of Paris. The US was never interested in Philippine sovereignty, only in US imperialist interests.

The US would embark on a brutal occupation of the islands, causing the deaths of at least 200,000 Filipino civilians. Upon the granting of nominal independence on July 4, 1946, the Philippines would remain a US neocolony that hosted 2 of the largest overseas US military bases in the word.

The Philippine economy, its political (electoral) system, foreign policy and military establishment have all been under the tremendous influence of the US. The regime of neoliberalism imposed by the US has caused the underdevelopment of the economy and persistence of semi-feudalism as the social base of imperialism. We have remained an export-oriented, import-dependent, debt-driven economy – a dumping ground of imported products and surplus capital while our domestic economy remains backward and unable to achieve industrialized status. US colonial rule, and later on US neocolonial rule, is primarily responsible for why our nation remains poor and maldeveloped.

Today the US has expanded its military presence in the Philippines through at least 9 forward military bases in so-called Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites. It has prepositioned military equipment including US Tomahawk missiles and spy drones and conducted US military exercises in its bid for power-projection in the region. The massive deployment of US military personnel and assets in the Philippines is meant to provoke China into engaging the US in intensified military conflict similar to how the US provoked Russia into a war by expanding NATO into Ukraine. US military aid meanwhile is used in a US-inspired counter-insurgency program implemented by various Philippine puppet presidents resulting in grievous violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

The US is currently reeling from its failure to secure a military victory in Ukraine after rejecting peace negotiations in 2022. The US is also isolated politically because of its unqualified support for the ongoing genocide of Palestinians by Israel. Throughout modern history, everywhere the US is involved, there is conflict and war. It has been true for countries like Vietnam, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan. The US cannot be a genocide-supporter and war-monger in one side of the world and be viewed as benevolent savior in another. We definitely do not want the Philippines to be used by the US in a proxy war with China.

The Marcos regime has portrayed itself as defender of Philippine sovereignty even as it allows unrestricted US military presence in the country through lopsided agreements such as the Visiting Forces Agreement and EDCA. It has tied Philippine foreign policy to US foreign policy, with the false claim that our national interest is identical to US imperialist interest. It has allowed the Philippines to be used as a footstool by the US to raise tensions with China, instead of aggressively pushing for a diplomatic solution to the dispute in the West Philippine Sea by upholding the arbitral ruling under UNCLOS.

We oppose China’s aggressive actions and illegal claims over 90% of the South China Sea. Nonetheless, we object to the US using our legitimate dispute with China as pretext for greater US military intervention in the region, pushing the Philippines away from a peaceful resolution of the dispute through diplomatic means, and closer to armed confrontation which serves US imperialist goals in the region. Then and especially now, the US is the main driver of conflict in the region.

Bayan calls on the Filipino people to expose and oppose imperialism, primarily US imperialism, and fight for genuine freedom and democracy in the Philippines. We stand in solidarity with the peoples of the world fighting the US war machine, from Palestine to the Philippines. We hail all our heroes who have fought for the genuine independence from colonialism, from the revolutionaries of the Katipunan to the freedom-fighters of the present struggle.#

Categories: Statements


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