US-PH war games contradict ‘independent’ foreign policy—Bayan
Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) has slammed the Duterte administration’s decision to push through with the Balikatan exercises between the Philippines and the United States this April despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s “independent” foreign policy that distanced from the Western superpower.
“The holding of Balikatan exercises contradicts Duterte’s earlier promise of pursuing an independent foreign policy. It contradicts his pronouncements that he wants to remove foreign troops from Philippine soil,” said Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes in a statement on Thursday.
This year’s joint military drills were expected to be toned down following President Duterte’s repeated orders to scale back defense agreements and bilateral drills with the US amid the administration of former President Barack Obama’s criticisms to his war on drugs.
Last year, Duterte even said that the 2016 war games with American military troops will be the last, as he expressed interest in boosting military ties with Russia. The U.S. is the only country with which the Philippines has an existing mutual defense treaty.
Bayan’s Reyes noted that the upcoming Balikatan “also comes right after the recently exposed shenanigans of US Navy officials in the Philippines engaged in a sex for secrets modus.”
He was referring to the wild sex party for US Navy officials and prostitutes provided by a Malaysian defense contractor known as “Fat Leonard” in exchange for classified information, which was held in the Manila Hotel during a 2007 port call to the Philippines by the USS Blue Ridge.
“It is clear the US troops have no regard for our domestic laws and will have no qualms engaging in shameful criminal acts. So why does the Duterte government still want them here?” Reyes added. IDL
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