Amid China’s continued aggression against Filipino ships and fishermen in the disputed waters, the United States, Australia, and the GRP recently held naval drills in the West Philippine Sea last 25 August. The military exercise, called “ALON war games,” was staged in Palawan, 200 kilometers from the Spratly Group of Islands. According to reports, the war games simulated the retaking of an enemy-controlled island. 

In response, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) stated “the Filipino people cannot defend the country’s sovereignty against the Chinese titan by allowing themselves to be under the power of the US colossus. To do so is not to defend Philippine sovereignty, rather is to further retrograde the country’s status as an American neocolony.” 

The war games started a few days after China water-bombed the ship bringing supplies to the BRP Sierra Madre in Second Thomas Shoal, also known as Ayungin Shoal, which is part of the Spratlys.  Two platoons from Australia, 175 Philippine troops and 150 US soldiers took part in the exercises as part of the Indo-Pacific Endeavor (IPE) of Australia which is a series of military exercises in line with the US strategy against China.

In 21 August, the US and Australia held simulated air assaults in Palawan where they used military helicopters and jet fighter planes. The Canberra, the biggest Australian war ship, controlled the said assault. Last 22 August, a P-8 Poseidon aircraft, a maritime surveillance plane of the US navy was spotted in the West Philippine Sea while a Philippine Coast Guard ship was confronted by a Chonese Coast Guard vessel.  

In addition, the USS Ronald Reagan, one of the largest aircraft carriers of the US has been in Philippine waters since 7 August. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was quick to justify the war games claiming it was part of joint efforts to “protect Philippine sovereignty.”

According to the CPP, the increasing tension due to US military drills in Philippine waters “clearly exposes how US military presence and intervention in the West Philippine Sea inflames armed tensions.”

“The subservience of the Marcos government to the US continues to pull the country into the increasingly tense inter-imperialist conflict between US and China,” added Marco Valbuena, Chief Information Officer of the CPP.