Commitments made in the recent visit of US Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin served to reinforce the neo-colonial relationship between the US government and the Marcos Jr. regime. Marcos Jr. gave Austin assurances to allow the US to establish more military bases and facilities inside AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) military camps and allow “joint maritime patrols” with the US military, in exchange for new military hardware contracts.

Despite Marcos Jr.’s pretense of pursuing an “independent” foreign policy and  neutrality on the US-China belligerent confrontation, it’s clear that the Manila government is a staunch ally of the US.

In addition to the systemic neo-colonial ties, Marcos’ personal agenda in currying favor from the US, is to legitimize their ill-gotten wealth restrained by existing US jurisprudence pursuant to the Hawaii District Court decision in favor of Human Rights plaintiff against the Marcos estate in 1992.

Marcos is allowing the Philippines to be used by the US as a launching pad for its provocations against China. He is practically allowing the imperialist US to drag the Philippines into a war against its own interest.

This is virtually turning the Philippines into a target of China’s attack, whether for aggression or counter-aggression.

The Chinese embassy in the Philippines has immediately reacted to the agreement saying, "US actions escalate regional tension and undermine regional peace and stability".

With the deal, Washington has closed the gap in the arc of US alliances stretching from South Korea and Japan in the north to Australia in the south.

Philippines which borders two of the biggest potential flashpoints - Taiwan and the South China Sea - is vital to US military strategy against China.

New EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) sites will be built in Cagayan, Isabela, Zambales and Palawan, in addition to the existing US military facilities inside AFP camps in five locations.

The US and its lackeys have been using the term “rotational presence” to circumvent the prohibition of the 1987 constitution against foreign military bases.

But the truth is that the US military forces have maintained permanent presence in the country for more than twenty years now, stationing troops from Luzon to Mindanao. The US has kept weapons and military equipment in various military bases. Naval warships of the US have regularly docked in Philippine ports and other parts of the country’s waters, anytime they wish, with or without permission of the Philippine government.

The Filipino people, together with peoples of Asia and the world, must continue to demand a stop to imperialist war mongering and an end to war preparations especially by the US. They must demand the dismantling of all US military bases and call for the removal of US and other foreign military troops in the country, as well as the dismantling of Chinese military facilities within its maritime territory.