The College Editors Guild of the Philippines, as a patriotic alliance of tertiary student publications, strongly opposes the plan of the United States and President Benigno Aquino III that allows access of American and Japanese forces to Philippine military facilities under the guise of security against the threat of China.
The continued foreign military presence in the Philippines does not only undermine the independence and sovereignty of our nation, but also results violations to human rights, environmental degradation, and further foreign intervention on the affairs of the Philippines, especially in politics, economy, military, and diplomatic relations.
On this day, 22 years ago, the 12 members of the Philippine Senate, collectively known as the ‘Magnificent 12’ which was led by former Senate President Jovito Salonga, historically rejected the proposed ten-year extension of US military bases in the Philippines despite of then President Corazon Aquino’s endorsement to the Philippine Congress to sign the extension, particularly in Subic Naval Base in Zambales.
After the almost impossible decision of the Philippine Senate, the Washington government still pursued the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) for the US forces to remain in our shores without having to maintain their control in Subic Naval Base in Zambales and Clark Air Base in Pampanga.
American military presence in our territory causes violations to our sovereignty, environment, and human rights. Who would have forgotten the Subic rape case involving American soldiers, the toxic wastes dumped in Subic Bay, the destruction of our national treasure Tubbataha Reef in Palawan, the US drone attacks in Mindanao, and the numerous cases of violations on our people’s rights by US troops?
Now, the US is rushing the Philippines to sign an agreement allowing them to use and access the facilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. In fact, this coming October, Aquino will openly welcome US President Barack Obama in his visit to ‘strengthen’ the ties between the American and Philippine governments on economic and military matters.
We call the youth and Filipino people to defend our country’s independence and sovereignty and to stop foreign intervention.
Uphold National Sovereignty and Patrimony!
Junk Mutual Defense Treaty and Visiting Forces Agreement!