The League of Filipino Students (LFS) marched to the Embassy of the United States of America (US) to protest the state visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold, with finality, the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
According to LFS National Spokesperson JP Rosos, the timing of the SC decision is highly questionable. The youth leader compared it to the signing of EDCA hours before the visit of US President Barack Obama. Rosos noted that the decision of the High Court is like a gift timed during the visit of Kerry.
“EDCA is a crime to the Filipino people. It does not only humiliatingly allow the wanton violation of our national sovereignty and territorial integrity; it also places the lives of the Filipino people at risks,” Rosos stressed.
Rosos pointed out that Kerry’s visit shows US’ desperation and eagerness to ensure their interests in the Philippines and the whole Asia-Pacific. The youth leader explained that US does not want to miss the new political situation where the country has a new President to further encroach the Philippines.
“After having a new president of the Philippines, the US wants to consolidate its domination and influence in the country. Kerry’s state visit will mean another assertion of their power not only in the Philippines but also in the whole of Asia-Pacific,” Rosos said.
Rosos also warned President Rodrigo Duterte that US intends to use the ruling of the International Tribunal on the West Philippine Sea dispute. According to the youth leader, US will definitely justify its military presence and activities in the West Philippine Sea. Rosos added that Kerry will most likely defend EDCA with the recent development with China.
Rosos stressed that EDCA allows the construction of U.S. bases in Philippine lands which violates our Constituton. According to the youth leader, Articles III, IV, and XI of EDCA guaranteed the unimpeded access, full control, and unencumbered rights to the so-called Agreed Locations. Rosos also noted that Article IV, Sections 3 and 4 of the agreement states that the US has “exclusive use” and “full title” over the prepositioned equipment, supplies, and materiel. He said that these provisions reflect how US intends to make the Philippines their own military base to pursue their interests.
“EDCA will only make the Philippines a military outpost for the US’ rebalancing or pivot to East Asia. It will only serve to protect and advance US’ dominance in the region. It does not have a single respect on our sovereignty and worse, it endangers our people,” Rosos said.
“When they (US troops) stayed in our country through the Military Bases Agreement (MBA), our countrymen experienced persecution and human rights violations. Children were being shot for fun and treated like pigs. Even after their return through the Visiting Forces Agreement, cases of killings, rape, and other violations continue. Worse, not a single American soldier was held accountable,” said Rosos.
“We urge President Duterte to stand for our sovereign rights. We think that Kerry’s visit will be an opportunity to strike down EDCA and kick out all US bases and facilities in the Philippines”, Rosos concluded. ###