Statement of the ILPS Philippines on US Vice President Kamala Harris’ Visit to the Country
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle Philippines strongly denounces the upcoming visit of US Vice President Kamala Harris to the country this week, right after she attends the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting on November 18 to 19 in Bangkok, Thailand. This visit by the second highest US official will further reinforce Marcos Jr.’s subservience to US imperialist dictates like what his father, Marcos Sr., did.
Simultaneously, US President Joe Biden is also set to visit Cambodia and Indonesia this week to attend the US-ASEAN Summit and G20 Leaders’ Summit. These back-to-back trips to the Asian countries by the US President and Vice President signify renewed assertion of US supremacy in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Kamala Harris visit to the Philippines is part of the diplomatic initiative to push for the US Indo-Pacific Strategy that envisions to modernize US economic, political and military relations with long-time and new allies in the region for the purpose of containing rising-imperialist China, securing the region’s resources, markets and sites for investments and projecting US political and military power in the region. Under this strategy, the US will bring together 13 Asian countries including the Philippines in a multilateral economic initiative called the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity which is framed along the same neoliberal policies that have bankrupted poor countries and hindered their development. At the core of this strategy is the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) that calls for increased military exercises and operations in the Indo-Pacific region and the building of war fighting capability in all fronts including cyberspace, artificial intelligence and maritime capacity. The US Congress has allocated $7.1 B to fund the PDI in 2023.
The Philippines as a long time neocolony of the US is by far the largest recipient of US military assistance in the region. It is expected to receive over $100 million (roughly ₱5.9 billion) worth of US military aid for its modernization program. In exchange, the Philippines has agreed with the US to build five more military facilities under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). These facilities will be used for stockpiling military equipment and war materiel and as springboards for US wars of aggression in the region.
The Marcos Jr. regime has earmarked $66.5 m for the construction of EDCA projects in the approved locations within the next two years. Clearly, Marcos Jr. follows the footsteps of his father who allowed the US to use Subic and Clark for the stockpiling of military hardware and equipment as part of its unhampered operations and war of aggression in Vietnam. These US bases in the Philippines have become springboards of attacks against the Vietnamese people.
These recent developments in US-PH neocolonial relations under the Marcos Jr. regime are not expected to contribute to Philippine economic recovery and development nor to the attainment of peace and security in the country and the whole region. Still kowtowing to the neoliberal agenda espoused by the US, Marcos Jr. seeks to further liberalize the economy by attracting more foreign investments, expanding the network of export zones and further allowing full-foreign ownership of companies in telecommunications, shipping, railways, subways, airports, among others. Under the guise of “partnerships and synergies”, Marcos Jr. has also brazenly auctioned off the Filipino people workforce by continuing his father’s policy of labor export from which US corporations and investors can profit. These economic policies fit well within the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework which only serves the interests of multinational corporations to the detriment of the Filipino people who have long suffered from the effects of imperialist neoliberal policies that only exacerbated poverty and inequality in the country.
US warmongering in the Asia Pacific and Marcos Jr. ‘s all out support to the US war agenda in exchange for military aid and economic and political support will only drag the country to war with the enemies of the US. The planned increase and expansion of agreed locations for basing US military facilities under EDCA coupled with the presence of US troops during more frequent military exercises under the VFA will virtually make the entire country a US military base. Like in the past, it is expected that with the presence of US troops, women, children and the LGBTQI community will become more vulnerable to crimes and violence committed by US soldiers.
Moreover, the US-Phil shared goal of modernization of the Philippine armed forces only aims to make the armed forces a better force to intensify militarization especially in the countryside as well as fight the US imperialist’s modern war.
Marcos Jr.’s delusion of friendly relations between the US and the Philippines is consistent with his historical revisionism. This is a blatant invalidation of the longtime rights violations, killings, severe economic crisis, and environmental plunder experienced by the majority of Filipinos in the name of the US-Philippine alliance.
The US imperialist government is no friend of ours. With its long history of colonization, waging wars of aggression and intervention, and engineering of policies that worsened the economic, political, and cultural lives of the Filipino people – it has never been an ally nor a partner.
Standing against this imperialist intervention is not only right and just, it is necessary. As the US government deepens its strategic alliance with the Marcos Jr. regime, we must consolidate our ranks and intensify our democratic and anti-imperialist resistance. ###
KAMALA NOT WELCOME!
DOWN WITH US IMPERIALISM!
US TROOPS OUT NOW!
US IMPERIALIST, NO. 1 TERRORIST!
NO TO US-MARCOS PARTNERSHIP FOR PLUNDER AND WAR!