U.S. Planning Combat Role for U.S. Troops in Philippines

(April 30, 2002)

The U.S. is considering a plan which would officially endorse the use of U.S. military advisers for "combat patrols" in the southern Philippines island of Basilan. The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Admiral Dennis Blair raised the proposal last week in Manila.

U.S. troops were deployed in the Philippines in January as part of Bush's "international war against terrorism." In violation of the Philippine constitution, the U.S. troops have already been involved in several combat operations.

Admiral Blair's new proposal calls for "embedding U.S. special operations forces with Filipino troops at the company level." Blair said he would like to raise the special forces to "company level" in order to "provide real-time intelligence and advice" as they go on combat patrols.

On April 20, the arrival of 300 engineers on the Philippine island of Basilan brought the number of U.S. troops stationed in the southern Philippines to more than 1,000.

Also, on April 22, approximately 2,700 U.S. troops and their Philippine counterparts launched joint military "games" -- a two-week exercise in the northern island of Luzon.

U.S. Imperialism, Out of the Philippines!