U. S. Holding More Military Exercises in the Philippines

February 14, 2006

From February 20 to March 5, thousands of U.S. soldiers will participate in the "Balikatan" war exercises in the Philippines.

These annual war exercises provide joint military training for Filipino and U.S. troops, and this year the event will take place in Luzon, Cebu, and Sulu provinces. According to the Pentagon, the exercises are designed "to promote interoperability between participating countries" and will "conduct counter-terrorism operations."

Over 5,500 U.S. military personnel and approximately 2,800 Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel will participate in the exercise.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in a January 19 statement on these U.S. military exercises says: "The Balikatan exercises only result in massive violations of the rights of the people and tramples the people's sovereign right." The CPP further says that the claim "that US soldiers will not directly participate in combat operations is an outright lie as there are records and witnesses [from previous joint exercises] that would prove they do....The cases of Buyong-Buyong Isnijal, and the US troops in joint combat operations to pursue the CIA-created Abu Sayyaf Group in 2004 are just some of the instances that point to the imperialist United States' deep involvement in the internal affairs of the country."

The CPP added that "the medical missions and other so-called humanitarian missions of the US troops in the resource-rich areas and in areas where revolutionary groups are present, especially in Mindanao are, in fact, intelligence gathering operations and are part of the US' stratagem. Balikatan exercises are nothing but part of the US war of aggression."

"For the US to take full economic and military control, it must crush the revolutionary New People's Army, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and even progressive organizations and freedom-loving Filipinos aggressively opposing US imperialism."