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Gov’t asked to ‘scrutinize’ ‘US Marines’ rotation’

/ 09:04 PM February 07, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – A militant group is calling on the Philippine government to “scrutinize” reported plans of the US to rotate Marines around the Asia-Pacific region.

“We call on the Congressional Commission on the VFA [Visiting Forces Agreement] to scrutinize whatever deal or arrangement that the PH gov’t is proposing, even before the negotiations take place in March,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes said in a statement sent to the media.

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“Clearly the US wants to maintain a permanent presence in the Philippines under the guise of rotational deployments. The scenario they want is to have a significant number of troops in the country at any given time, available for rapid deployment,” he added.

The Obama administration intends to rotate about 4,000 Marines stationed through Australia, Subic Bay and perhaps a smaller base in the Philippines and Hawaii instead of a $21.1 billion plan to expand military presence in Guam, according to a Bloomberg report from which Bayan based its reaction from.

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However, the report’s unidentified sources said that the plan hasn’t been announced. The article added: “The US is realigning forces in the Asia-Pacific as the Obama administration refocuses attention on the region after more than a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Reyes said that it was “more flexible” and “less costly” for the US. “This makes stationing US troops in the Philippines a necessity, as far as the US is concerned.”

Furthermore, Reyes encouraged the government to “make public the terms of reference it will be setting for the stationing of US troops here.”

He said, “Stop giving us vague statements on following the constitution. That’s not an assurance we can live with, especially since the US has routinely violated our Constitution.”

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TAGS: Barack Obama, Bayan, Marines, Protest, US troops, Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA)
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