U.S. President George W. Bush's Visit to the Philippines: A Master Surveying His Vassals

Below we print excerpts from a statement issued by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on October 15, 2003 commenting on George Bush's visist to the Philippines.

"For the coming visit of US President George W. Bush, Arroyo and her entire cabinet have been engaged in such frenzied preparations. . . . rallies against Bush and Arroyo have virtually been banned since the government has refused to give permits to mass actions. The Philippine National Police is also preparing to use rubber bullets against persistent demonstrators, mobilizing more than 10,000 policemen, not to mention the elite military units deployed to secure Bush and company.

Also part of the Arroyo regime's preparations is a multi-million PR blitz to counter critics and the protests being planned by militant groups. . . .

It is not surprising then why both father [Bush] and son [Bush] targetted Iraq, site of the second largest oil deposit in the world. The wars they waged in the name of democracy and freedom were in reality wars for oil and profit. The "successful" war on Iraq has enabled US oil monopolies to get their hands on Iraqi oil.

To justify the attack, Bush Jr. falsified intelligence reports regarding the presence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq. He overturned the decision of the United Nations and arrogantly ignored international law and norms.

Not a single WMD has been found to this day. On the other hand, over 400,000 Iraqis have been rendered homeless, maimed and killed in the military aggression that continues to this day.

Bush may not have been number one when he was a student but now, he holds the record for a lot of things. For example, he has the honor of being the public official most targeted by political protests all over the world. Last February 15 alone, over 15 million citizens in different countries poured to the streets to denounce Bush and the US war on terror.

He also holds the record of amassing the biggest budget deficits, allocating the biggest parts of the US budget to military, and bringing misery to millions of Americans with his antipoor policies.

Old refrain

The Philippines will just be one leg of Bush's seven-day six-country Asian tour, which includes Thailand where he will attend the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and Japan.

Nothing new is expected from this master-puppet reunion. No doubt Bush will give an effusive thank-you to Arroyo for her quick and unabashed support to the US war on terror. Besides, Arroyo has again granted two of his wishes: she refused to ratify the country's membership to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and has signed an executive agreement that gives US troops immunity from any criminal liability while in the Philippines. . . .

The US is also expected to demand more expansive access arrangements for US military forces. Thus, expect more frequent, bigger and extended war exercises in the future, this time, even in areas far far away from Abu Sayyaf. In fact, in the past several months, US military officials and psywar experts have been cited in areas in Panay, Bicol, Cordillera, Central Luzon and General Santos.

In the economic arena, the US will push for US-RP bilateral trade arrangements, with the collapse of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference in Cancun, Mexico. . . .

Clearly, the much-awaited Bush arrival is not a statesman's visit to an equal, just as the Philippine-American relations have never been an equal and fair partnership. Bush is arriving in the Philippines, talking with Arroyo and addressing the Philippine Congress as a master surveying his vassals, pushing them to produce more for him and threatening them with the whip if they fail.

If anything, Bush's visit exposes the subservience and puppetry of the Arroyo regime and the neocolonial status of our country. This is how it has been for more than a century; this is how it still is under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

To prove, let us look at the farewell editorial of El Renacimiento written in 1910 (El Renacimiento was the newspaper that earned the ire of American authorities because of an anti-American editorial titled, "Aves de Rapina," and was forced to close down):

"Unasked, the Americans came to these islands, impelled (they say) by the love of humanity, and announcing that they brought with them liberty and prosperity, - all, in short, that an oppressed people dream of. For a moment we believed that the hour of redemption was at hand. When the armed opposition of the people was overcome, and the Americans found themselves undisputed lords of the land, redemption became domination under the guise of 'preparing the Philippine people for self-government.'"

US imperialist domination is a systemic illness that can only be cured by a resolute people's armed revolutionary struggle. Through the years, it has used different ploys and pretexts for its empire-building, the latest of which is the war on terror.

Indeed, nothing much has changed. Same violence, same deception, same tyrant.