Volume IV, Number 22. 30 November 2022.
More than anything else, the recent visit of US Vice President Kamala Harris to the Philippines serves the aim of heightening US military intervention in the country and in the Asia-Pacific region. It serves to aggravate tensions with China and further raises the specter of an inter-imperialist war.
Harris’ visit came a few weeks after she visited Japan and South Korea, undertaken to flaunt US military power in Asia. Earlier, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in what’s considered a show of outright contempt for the One-China policy.
In her meeting with President Marcos, Jr. and his security officials, Harris reaffirmed US commitments for additional funding of projects under the US-RP Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. Fresh funds would come on top of the over US$82 million already allocated for the agreement, which allows the US military to construct facilities and preposition military assets inside Philippine military bases.
Even after the termination of the US-RP Military Bases Agreement in 1992, succeeding Philippine puppet regimes forged agreements with the US, allowing the continued presence of US troops in Philippine territory, without paying a single cent for rent. US troops inside Philippine military camps enjoy extraterritorial rights, not subject to supervision by Philippine authorities, including the determination of whether the US store nuclear weapons in these facilities.
These military bases will become legitimate targets of the enemies of the US, in case an inter-imperialist war breaks out.
The US continues to provide weapons, ammunition, equipment and training to the AFP in its brutal counterinsurgency war, characterized by widespread human rights violations against the Filipino people. US military advisers continue to direct the AFP in counter-guerrilla operations using military drones, jet fighters, attack helicopters and artillery weapons, staging wanton aerial bombings and shelling that terrorize communities and damage their farms and natural resources.
US military support increases even as more and more groups, as well as US lawmakers raise the demand for the Biden government to stop funding the brutal war of the AFP and the Philippine National Police.
Oh yes, US VP Harris also had discussions with the Marcos government on topics such as climate action, energy security and food security. They merely serve to prettify the noxious heightening of US military intervention in the Philippines.
Harris so-called “encouragement” to Philippine human rights advocates to persist in their advocacy should likewise be taken with a grain of salt. If anything, actions speak louder than words. Harris’ “encouragement” runs counter to the increasing US support to Marcos Jr.’s brutal campaign against Filipino dissenters resulting in massive human rights violations.
Filipinos should unite and assert their sovereignty, oppose intensifying US military intervention, and reject being used as pawns in the brewing US-China inter-imperialist conflict.