Militant group advises President to reject US part in Marawi offensives
A militant leader urged President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday to oppose and “categorically reject” the increased involvement of the United States government in the ongoing Marawi City conflict, citing “flagrant violation” of Philippine sovereignty.
“In light of statements coming from the U.S., President Rodrigo Duterte should make a categorical statement rejecting expanded U.S. intervention in Marawi, which now includes the use of U.S. drones for airstrikes against ISIS targets,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. said in a statement.
The NBC News earlier reported that if the planned expanded US intervention pushes through, American troops may conduct drone airstrikes against Islamic State-inspired extremists in Marawi City.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Eduardo Año have both denied the reports, saying there were no discussions yet with their U.S. counterparts.
Reyes warned that if Duterte implements the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), the new U.S. bases could be used as launch pads for airstrikes. The EDCA provides U.S. forces access to “agreed locations,” which are mostly Philippine military facilities.
If Duterte allows such move, he said, the Philippines may also end up like other failed states such as Iraq, Syria, or Afghanistan, where the U.S. launched offensives against extremists.
“Duterte should tell his US counterpart that we are not another Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan. He must not allow the US to embark on a new operation in the Philippines similar to Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002,” Reyes said, referring to the America’s global war on terror campaign launched in the Philippines.
“Duterte is mistaken if he thinks relying on US assistance is the best way to defeat ISIS. That has not been the case in many countries where the US is engaged in right now,” he added. JPV
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.