Tuesday, February 11, 2014

VFA Sellout by Erick San Juan

VFA Sellout by Erick San Juan

It was only in January 25,2014 when the Philippine government and representatives from the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) agreed on the last chapter of peace talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The conclusion of the talks pave the way for the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that will allow the rebel group to set up an autonomous government to run parts of the poor, but resource-rich southern island of Mindanao -- in exchange for decommissioning their weapons. The said signing is the final and most challenging Annex on Normalization -- the fourth part of a peace roadmap that was set out in October 2012. (Source: Reuters)

Only a little over one week that the said pact was signed that another controversial issue was raised by the progressive block in the House of Representatives through Representative Carlos Zarate of the Bayan Muna. He based his allegations from the paper “In Assertion of Sovereignty: The Peace Process” authored by Cesar Pobre and Raymond Jose Quilop, a political science professor from the University of the Philippines who has been providing policy directions to the AFP over the last two decades through the Office of Strategic and Special Studies (OSS), a unit under the military based at Camp Aguinaldo.

According to the OSS, General Santos City in South Cotabato is being considered as the future site for a US base. Why is this so? Because  -  “One thought is about an American-led plot to lend a debt of gratitude by helping Mindanao become independent and get repaid in terms of grant of US rights to set up bases there.”

The book went on further that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has also a hand on this through USIP(United States Institute for Peace). It stated that the OSS book said Washington was considered a “major stakeholder” in the peace process and had actually used organizations that were believed to be fronting for the Central Intelligence Agency. One of these agencies is the US Institute for Peace (USIP) through the Philippine Facilitation Project.

The OSS, citing several sources, said the USIP’s “true objective is to infiltrate the MILF.”

“The US through the USIP guided the crafting of the [defunct] MOA-AD [memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain] to serve its tactical and strategic objectives in the country as well as in the Southeast Asian region,” it noted.

The allegations were denied by then US Ambassador Kristie Kenney who pointed out that the USIP acted on its own in preparing a study paper on the peace process that did not reflect Washington’s position, but “she did not mention, however, that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was among the ex-officio members of the institute.”  The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported  last February 3,2014 that Cong. Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna condemned and called for an investigation of the alleged participation of US troops in the military operations against BIFF(Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) in Maguindanao. US forces were seen providing medical assistance to wounded soldiers and two journalists who were hurt in a bomb attack. But Zarate said that the VFA(Visiting Forces Agreement) does not cover participation in any form of activities inside a military camp during an ongoing massive operation. He even cited the US involvement in the Vietnam War which started from providing "humanitarian" assistance, which he said was a clear euphemism for low-intensity conflict and intervention. Cong. Zarate concluded that the assistance in disguise strengthen the 'maneuvers' of the US government for a more permanent presence in the country.

We have written a lot about this move by Washington through Pentagon of actually having the bases already set up in the south (Mindanao) since Uncle Sam launched its global war on terror (GWOT) in 2001 after the September 11 terror attack. This was carried out successfully by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in joining the coalition of the willing in the war on terror. Remember that Mrs. Arroyo was given the title as the Asia coordinator in the said perceived bogus war by former US President George Bush Jr.

Whether we like it or not, our country will always be under the spell of the big brother’s whim through the collaborators in the government that will drag us all into a war not of our liking. Now that the said agreement on the Bangsamoro Political Entity is in its final stretch, the perception of allowing a US base in the said ‘new territory’ is not farfetched especially in theses exciting times where the Philippines is believed as the possible epicenter of the next global war. Unless the present administration together with the people in PNoy's loop will have the balls to say no to its master and be treated fairly as its ally and in the process be given what is due us.

John Mangun of the Business Mirror, an American stock market expert and a very pro-Filipino American journalist cited the State of the Union address last January of US President Barack Obama mentioning the Philippines, telling Americans and us that the US would always be ready to help a friend which made the Filipinos glow with honor. But Mangun doubts the sincerity of Obama. He concluded that the truth is, "those foreigners are not your friends and they actually do not like the Philippines."

 It's very clear that the US has their interests to protect but what about us? Can President Obama and the US Congress give us the same privilege they gave to Japan, like an immediate response and retaliation in case of an attack? Just asking!

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