Farmers slam US-PH EDCA military exercises

3K troops to join biggest Balikatan

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today slammed the upcoming SALAKNIB (Shield) exercises under the US-PH Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that will involve some 3,000 American and Filipino troops.

KMP said these military exercises would serve as a ‘flexing activity’ of the United States military power amid the growing aggressiveness of China in our territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. “China already militarizes our territorial waters in the West Philippine Sea. We do not need the U.S. to further the last thing that Filipino fishers want is an expansion of U.S. military bases at the further expense of our sovereign rights and territorial integrity,

The exercises will take place at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija and will involve the ff: multiple small-arms live-fire activities; artillery and mortar live-fire events; construction projects.

The war games will also involve military air and shoreline defense techniques. “China and U.S. are undermining the security and stability in the region, and Filipinos stand to suffer the most from these warring superpowers,” the peasant leader said.

“This is what we have been saying all along about the EDCA. The entire country is becoming an operating base of the United States military. It allows temporary and permanent access to U.S. forces on “public land and facilities including roads, ports, and airfields, even those owned by local governments. The entire country can be used by U.S. forces, making the EDCA much broader in scope than the previous US-PH Military Bases Agreement,” according to KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.

“With EDCA and the continuing US-PH joint military exercises, we are attracting further attacks and challenges from China.”

The peasant group also alluded to the recent aerial bombardments in Cagayan Valley and Kalinga provinces to the upcoming US-PH military exercises. We strongly believe that the U.S. military supplied the bombs and artilleries used in these incidents of aerial bombings of peasant and indigenous people’s communities. ###

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