The recently released US-PH Bilateral Security Guidelines, whose provisions were negotiated in secret, and which claims to be an upgrade of the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty, ensures that the Philippines will continue to support US interests and agenda in the Pacific, under false terms of “mutuality”. Philippine defense policy will be made even more dependent and contigent on US defense policy. US intervention in the crafting of our foreign and defense policy becomes even more entrenched under the new guidelines.

May be an image of 2 people, the Oval Office and text that says "ON THE NEW US-PH BILATERAL SECURITY GUIDELINES BAYAN"

The new Bilateral Security Guidelines is the main reason why Marcos Jr has been invited to the US by US President Joe Biden. It is supposed to be a re-assurance that the US will come to the aid of the Philippines in the event of an external armed attack. That external armed attack has now been defined to include any attacks in the South China Sea on military vessels and even the Philippine Coast Guard.

While some will view this as a “deterrent” against China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea, it cannot be denied that this also ties the hands of the Philippines to support US military provocations and intervention in the region. If there is an incident involving American and Chinese ships, we become obligated to support the US militarily, regardless of cause and outcome. It still remains to be seen whether such provisions will indeed serve as a deterrent to China or if these will only further escalate tensions.

The Bilateral Defense Guidelines signals more US war games in the Philippines and the maximization of EDCA sites for US military presence, including prepositioning of weapons and vehicles. The paper makes reference to modernizing Philippine defense capabilities but stops short of any real commitments outside the usual Foreign Military Financing and Excess Defense Articles programs. The US however will be involved in the Philippines’ defense budget planning as the US keen on selling us more decommissioned or obsolete military equipment. A new Security Sector Assistance Roadmap will be set up to identify what equipment the Philippines will procure in the next 5 years.

Quite worrisome is the expanded involvement of the US in all matters of security including those internal to the Philippines which the US should not be meddling in. These include so-called “counter-terrorism” and “violent extremism” which all redound to US intervention in counter-insurgency operations in the Philippines. The US counter-insurgency doctrine and military aid have been the cause of widespread human rights violations in the past.

We reiterate our call to demilitarize the South China Sea and for an end to US military provocations as well as China’s aggressive actions. We continue to oppose US bases and troops in the Philippines and all forms of US intervention in our internal affairs. We continue to oppose China’s baseless claims in our EEZ and its continuing harassment of Filipino fishermen. We call on the Filipino people to be ever-vigilant against all forms of foreign intervention amid the continuing inter-imperialist rivalry between the US and China.

Categories: Statements


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