EDCA expansion will transform the entire PH into a US military base
Peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) reiterates its position that expanding the US-PH Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) is an affront to our sovereignty and independence as a nation. Although not invited to the public hearing called by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations chaired by Senator Imee Marcos, KMP submitted its position paper against EDCA (see attached file).
“Allowing the expansion of EDCA which is practically a one-sided military agreement is a betrayal of the Filipino people’s interest. EDCA not only allows the permanent presence of U.S. troops, it will also allow the entry of war materiel from the U.S. as well as the use of our land, resources, and facilities for free by the U.S. troops without any accountability.”
The group said that EDCA would pave the way for the U.S. to use the entire country as its military base in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Sa Central Luzon pa lamang, halos 4,000 sundalong Amerikano ang nagkalat sa iba’t ibang lugar tulad ng Subic at San Narciso sa Zambales, Clark sa Pampanga, Camp O’ Donnell at Crow Valley sa Tarlac, and Fort Magsaysay sa Nueva Ecija sa tuwing may Balikatan military exercises. Sa mga lugar na ito, palagiang pinagbabawalan ang mga magsasaka, katutubo at mangingisda na magsaka at mangisda kung kaya nalulugmok sila sa kahirapan at kagutuman,” [In Central Luzon region alone, about 4,000 American soldiers are dispersed to different areas such as Subic and San Narciso bays in Zambales, Clark in Pampanga, Camp O’ Donnell and Crow Valley in Tarlac, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija during Balikatan military exercises. In these areas, farmers, indigenous peoples and fisherfolk are banned from either working on their farms or fishing, hence, they are subjected to hardship and hunger.]
EDCA will also facilitate the total surrender of thousands of hectares of land to American control during its basing operations and military exercises.
The Philippines and U.S. governments previously agreed on using five former and active U.S. military bases to serve as the permanent bases of the U.S. military. These are the Basa Air Base [Pampanga], Fort Magsaysay [Nueva Ecija], Antonio Bautista Air Base [Palawan], Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base [Cebu], and Lumbia Air Base [Mindanao]. Additional four military sites were approved by Marcos Jr., including one each in Isabela and Cagayan provinces.
We believe that EDCA and the annual Balikatan will continue to have a socio-economic impact on peasants, indigenous people, and fisherfolk communities as they are prohibited from going to their farmlands and fishing areas during military exercises.
EDCA expansion will only guarantee the resurrection of U.S. military bases in the country nothing more, nothing less. In our struggle against China’s aggressive incursion, we reiterate our strong position that there is no other way to protect our sovereignty but to rely upon our people’s strength by promoting independent policy detached from any foreign superpower influence.
Under EDCA, KMP said it expects U.S. troops to further its direct participation in the local military’s counter-insurgency and combat operations that will result in increasing militarization, aerial bombings, human rights abuses, and massive displacement of farmers in the countryside,” says Mariano.
He said that “the return of U.S. military bases and troops clearly shows Marcos Jr’s rabid puppetry that has surpassed succeeding regimes since the Filipino people’s collective rejection of the U.S. military bases in 1991.”
“We call on the Filipino peasantry and the people to assert our national sovereignty and patrimony. We must resist and frustrate the expansion of EDCA,” the KMP said. #