Contact: Berna Ellorin, 347.244.8953
WASHINGTON DC– Filipinos and supporters in Washington DC are set to protest the return of the US military to Subic Bay in the Philippines.
“We cannot fall under the trap that the US military is here to protect us from China. The US has its own interests in coming to the Philippines that do not align with our interest of upholding Philippine sovereignty ,” states Philippine Congressman Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna (People First) Partylist. “The Philippine Senate reached a landmark decision in 1992 and voted no to renewing the Bases Treaty, essentially shutting down Subic Naval and Clark Air Force Bases because US military bases operating in the Philippines were an affront to our sovereignty and territorial integrity. Those reasons still stand today.”
WHAT: US Hands Off Subic Bay Press Conference & White House Action
WHEN: Monday, July 20, 11:10AM
WHERE: Front of the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
WHO: Filipino Human Rights Advocates and supporters, including
Philippine Congressman Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna Party;
Amirah Lidasan of Suara Bangsamoro (Voice of the Moro People);
Irma Bajar of Gabriela USA; and
Peter Murphy of the International Coalition on Human Rights the Philippines
In the context of the US strategic pivot to Asia, the US and Philippine governments recently signed a military pact– the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement– that would allow US military to set up facilities in the Philippines. The Aquino government recently announced plans to re-open Subic Bay as a naval base accessible to US military troops. US military basing in Subic would allow for a hub in its moves to contain China.
US military presence in the Philippines, particularly in Olongapo City, where Subic Bay is based, has historically been linked to crimes and human rights abuses committed by US military personnel and Filipina women and children. Two examples of this are the October 2014 murder of Filipina transwoman Jennifer Laude, and the 2005 gang rape of Suzette Nicolas, also known as “Nicole”, by US servicemen.
A botched anti-terrorism operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last February shed light on US military’s involvement in direct combat operations in the country, as well as a secret US drone program in Mindanao, despite Philippine constitutional provisions that prohibit foreign military basing and combat operations on Philippine soil.
This past July 18 in Washington DC, an International Peoples’ Tribunal on the Philippines found Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and the US government under Barack Obama guilty for crimes against the Filipino people, including the right to self-determination and sovereignty. Conveners of the tribunal include the National Lawyers Guild and the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines.