Fisherfolk urge DOJ to issue legal opinion on foreign basing proposal

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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government should immediately abrogate the

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Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and other military pacts with the United States (US) after reports confirmed that Washington has been using Manila as major spy hub in the region, the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a statement Sunday.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of National Defense have yet to verify reports of the Australian media that exposed that the Philippines has been used by Washington’s National Security Agency (NSA) for US intelligence units tracking communications networks in Asia.

“President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and officials of the defense and foreign affairs department are well informed about the covert operations of Washington DC in the Philippines, including these intelligence-gathering escapades of NSA and therefore they are crime partners of imperial America in Asia. They should all be held accountable for rated A violation of people’s sovereignty. But for the meantime, the most immediate thing to do is to abrogate the VFA and nullify other existing military pacts with Washington DC,” said Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France.

The Pamalakaya official said the Philippine Senate’s committees on defense and foreign affairs should conduct parallel investigation on the report that NSA is using the Philippines as a major spy hub in Asia to monitor political forces and entities friendly or adversarial to Washington DC.

“When these reports about US spying and the use of Philippines as well staffed spy hub in Asia first came out to the media, the Philippine Senate should have come into the picture and declare at least an indefinite suspension of VFA and other military agreements with US and pursue a thorough investigation in aid of legislation. But the senators did not do their assignment and they refused to engage the puppetry of Aquino and the increasing military aggression of Washington in PH to a national debate,” France said.

According to an article posted on the website of Australia’s ABC News, the US maintains a secret map where surveillance facilities in their embassies and consulates in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh, Bangkok, Yangon, Manila, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, and Beijing.

According to ABC News, the map was apparently the same map Snowden released to the German news magazine Der Spiegel, which initially it posted but has since censored, showing 90 listening posts around the world with Manila described as one of 74 “staffed” locations.

A copy of the original map that appeared in Der Spiegel is archived on Cryptome, a digital library host created by American architects and independent scholars John Young and Deobrah Natsias that “are prohibited by governments worldwide, in particular material on freedom of expression, privacy, cryptology, dual-use technologies, national security, intelligence, and secret governance — open, secret and classified documents — but not limited to those.”

Pamalakaya said the ongoing construction of a mini-Subic Naval Base in Oyster Bay southwest of Manila will be used as one of the command posts of the US Marines and will be also be used by the US  for spying operations.

The militant group said command and listening posts for US spy operations will also be constructed inside the 246-hectare Philippine Marine Corps reservation in Samariniana town in Palawan. He said the US will also develop Ulugan Bay, Macarascas, Puerto Princesa, and Tarumpitao Point in Rizal and San Vicente into US command and spy posts.

Pamalakaya said the Oyster Bay mini-naval base project is part of the US agenda to increase its military presence in the Philippines on rotational basis. The group said the mini naval base is also designed to host military warships of Washington not only to check the disturbing presence of Chinese military in West Philippine Sea but to preserve the military hegemony of the US in East Asia and the Pacific in the name of military program known as US Pivot in the region.

This automatically falls under full-pledged US military basing and as such represents wholesale violation of sovereignty, it said.

The group said the impact of Oyster Bay naval base project to the livelihood of fishing folks and marine environment is far reaching, extremely dangerous, and totally catastrophic.

Pamalakaya lamented that taxpayers’ money had been used to develop the naval base for US marines. It said a total of P 500 million will be released for the construction of 12-kilometer road as enabling structure for the Oyster Bay naval base.

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