MANILA, Philippines – The anti-imperialist youth group League of Filipino Students (LFS) joins BAYAN and other sectors as they stage a quick reaction (QRT) protest to denounce the sudden “port call” of attack submarine USS North Carolina in Subic this Tuesday.
LFS chairperson Gemma Canalis mentions that the unannounced entry of USS North Carolina “is a blatant ignorance of Philippine government and laws.”
“While the Aquino and his officials are irked at the sudden entry, such will only be excused under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA),” Canalis said.
The USS North Carolina is dubbed by the US Pacific command as “one of the stealthiest, most technologically advanced submarines in the world.”
“She brings to the region the capability to conduct the full spectrum of potential submarine missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, naval special warfare involving special operations forces, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and mine warfare,” it added.
“A most advanced vehicle, the USS North Carolina is possibly holding nuclear-capable weapons. Nuclear weapons have been banned by no less than the Constitution itself. But then again, under the VFA, the US is not obliged to tell so,” Canalis said.
Article II, Section 8 of the Philippine Constitution states that “the Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.”
The USS North Carolina’s docking will only serve the US power play in the region, Canalis said, mentioning the plans on controlling sea routes in Asia, especially in China, geared in ensuring US superiority over the region.
Recently, the US and Philippine governments held a meeting in Washington, dubbed as the “2+2″ meeting, which reaffirmed US defense interests in the Philippines. Preceding this were a series of state visits from officials including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Balikatan exercises held last April.
“The US has set its eyes on Asia aoutlined in its military plans,” Canalis said, adding that the people should be prepared for more “port calls” and sudden ship visits as part of the US focus on Asia.
Problems with China
Canalis adds that that the submarine’s presence only serves to provoke China. While dismissed by US officials as “having nothing to do with China,” its presence is certainly one not to be taken lightly.
“The Aquino regime and its pseudo-progressive officials are ready to brandish all-out “patriotism” against China and Chinese ships, but deafeningly fall silent on USS North Carolina,” Canalis said.
Call to action
“The LFS calls on the Filipino youth, students and the people to stand against this blatant trampling of Philippine sovereignty. We demand the immediate pullout of USS North Carolina from our shores. The LFS further reiterates the demand for the repeal of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty, and other unfair treaties between the US and Philippine governments,” Canalis said. ###