THE chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-United States of America (Bayan-USA), a Filipino nationalist organization, urged the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to abrogate all of the country’s military agreements with the USA.
Bernadette Ellorin made the call on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Philippine Senate’s rejection of a treaty that should have prolonged the stay of US military bases in the Philippines on September 16, 1991.
The call also came in the wake of a very strong anti-American rhetoric from Pres. Duterte himself — the most recent of which was his call for the US Special Forces to leave Mindanao.
Ellorin explained that the continuing American presence in the Philippines is “preventing the country from gaining real political, social and cultural growth” as a sovereign nation. She also pointed out that the US military presence in the country is not contributing to the Philippines’ security but instead is serving as a magnet for attacks from the US enemies.
Ellorin also said the organization supports the Duterte administration’s peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) and in asserting its sovereignty. However, it does not agree with the Duterte administration’s determination to bury former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).
“We joined other Filipino-American organizations in protesting the proposed burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” Elllorin pointed out.
The Marcoses, Ellorin said, still refuse to recognize the atrocities committed by Marcos regime against the Filipino people, chief of them; the systematic plunder of the country’s wealth and human rights violations.
Moreover, Ellorin added the organization believes the Duterte administration should reinforce the investigation efforts of law enforcement agencies on the mounting cases of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines to “establish who were the real culprits in many of those mysterious killings.”
In a related development, during a recent interview with Gel Santos Relos of Balitang America, Atty. Rodel Rodis of the US Pinoys for Good Governance, equated President Duterte’s anti-American stance as akin to “cutting your nose to spite your face.”
Rodis said he found it confusing that while Duterte was passionate about American atrocities committed against the Filipinos a century ago, the president wants the country to get over with the atrocities of the Marcos regime which happened more recently. Duterte wants to bury the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Rodis also pointed out during the interview that Vietnam and Laos, countries heavily devastated by the American military, have ignored their bloody past in order to protect their interests in the Philippine Sea.
“There should be a reality check here. China is the aggressor now, Rodis stressed.
On September 16, 1991, the Philippine Senate voted to approve Sen. Wigberto Tañada’s Resolution No. 1259 of Non-Concurrence to “A Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Security” which would have allowed the US military bases to stay in the Philippines for another 10 years.
Aside from Tanada, the 11 senators who introduced and supported the Resolution of Non-Concurrence were Senate President Jovito Salonga and Senators Agapito “Butz” Aquino, Juan Ponce Enrile, Joseph Estrada, Teofisto Guingona Jr., Sotero Laurel, Ernesto Maceda, Orlando Mercado, Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Rene Saguisag and Victor Ziga.
Only eight “no” votes were needed to reject the treaty. On the other hand, a two-thirds vote by the chamber was needed to concur with it.
It thus paved the way for the approval of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Report No. 1422 which recommended before the Senate plenary its non-concurrence stand on the extension of the US military bases agreement.
The Philippines and the USA continue to be militarily committed to each other through the Mutual Defense Treaty, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and the Visiting Forces Agreement.
The two countries also conduct annual military exercises called Balikatan through the VFA.