President Biden: Clean Up, Pay Up! US Troops, Get Out!
Philippine Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the resumption of the Visiting Force Agreement (VFA) at a joint press conference in Manila last month.
The VFA, which was originally signed in 1988, allowed US military aircraft and warships to enter the Philippines freely and relaxed visa restrictions on US military personnel. The Philippines expelled US military bases from the country in 1992. However, the permanent presence of the U.S. military in PH continues, and has been proven by one-sided agreements such as the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), RP-U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA). According to reports, between 2007 and 2012, US warships called at ports 357 times. Since 2002, 600 U.S. special forces have been stationed in Mindanao through rotation deployment.
The U.S. shift to Asia and the Pacific led to greater intervention and military presence in Pakatan Harapan. We have seen a steady increase in the presence of the US Navy in PH. The record of at least 88 port calls in Subic Bay in 2012 has surged from 54 in 2011, and at least 72 in the first half of 2013 alone.
According to the experience of the Philippines, this policy of allowing the territory and facilities of the Philippines to be used as a gathering place for US military operations not only violates the national sovereignty and territorial integrity, but also causes large-scale damage and pollution to our environment. As of 2004, the toxic waste left behind when the US military's biochemical experiments were shut down at US military bases had affected 2,460 victims, of which 1,060 had died.
Just in 2012, a U.S. Navy contractor ship dumped 4,000,000 liters of dangerous sewage and toxic bilge water into the waters of Subic Bay. According to the VFA, the Philippine authorities cannot inspect American ships for dangerous and toxic materials. A telegram published by the online whistleblower WikiLeaks shows that the uranium brick is a nuclear material smuggled from the United States to the Philippines. It must also be pointed out that these port calls, military exercises, and military biochemical experiments are very close to various marine protected areas and other important marine ecosystems.
We, as the signature individual leaders and advocates of various non-governmental organizations, people's organizations, academic institutions, and social movements involved in environmental propaganda and safeguarding our national sovereignty and heritage, unite today to make the following appeal:
• We oppose the return of US bases in the Philippines by increasing the rotation of the station and the existing base access agreement that the US government is currently negotiating. This will provide military personnel with more opportunities to enter our domestic facilities, thereby causing large-scale pollution and Environmental damage
• We demand justice and compensation for victims of toxic pollution in former US military bases and human rights violations in the country. The U.S. government must be held responsible for the cleanup and restoration of damaged environments such as Subic Bay and Tubbataha Reef;
Let the polluted US military pay the price! Reject the U.S. base in the Philippines!
The President Biden: Clean Up, Pay Up! US Troops, Get Out! petition to President Biden was written by Harana Crisanto and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.