Fisherfolk slams upcoming Balikatan drill
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Monday expressed opposition on the upcoming Philippines-United States Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercise which will be held on May this year.
Balikatan is an annual military exercise in the country involving Filipino and American troops as agreed on PH-U.S. military deals like the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said they are dismayed by President Rodrigo Duterte for letting the military drill to proceed even if he expressed strong criticisms and statements before against U.S. military presence and intervention in our country.
“President Duterte lacks sincerity on his earlier pronouncements to stop all U.S.-Ph military exercise in the country and that he will make all American troops kicked out from our land,”
“We have been opposing these military drills ever since because this is undeniable state intervention and aggression by U.S. military troops under the guise of “combating terrorism’ and ‘humanitarian and civil assistance’. Today’s Balikatan is a plain and simple case of same wine in a different bottle. This Trump-directed military intervention is no different from previous military drills; one-sided and anti-Filipino defense pact between the Philippines in the United States,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Uncle Sam is no ‘Knight in sparkling armor’ – Fisherfolk to Justice Carpio
Manila, Philippines – “Mr. Carpio’s statement was very far from reality. The United States (U.S.) has repeatedly said that it won’t engage in any military activity against China over the parcels of islands in the West Philippine Sea. If the U.S. is really into defending our sovereignty, how come it didn’t prevent China from constructing artificial islands in our waters even protect the Filipino fishers in Scarborough Shoal?” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya Chairperson said.
This was the reaction of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) to Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s statement during the closing ceremony of the Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise (Phiblex 33) at Philippine Marine Corps headquarters in Taguig City on Tuesday saying ‘only the United States can stop China from its saber-rattling in the South China Sea’.
“We’re afraid to say that Mr. Carpio was wrong on so many levels. For one, the U.S. won’t defend us from any external conflicts; much more to China which the former is a huge debtor and has more geopolitical and economic interests than in our country. It’s difficult to think that U.S. would waste a single round against China given its long economic ties with the latter,” Hicap said.