Events over the past several weeks reveal the country’s dismal state of non-independence and the necessity to struggle for national sovereignty. The country was turned into a virtual playground where big power bullies showed off their military and economic might, while the US-Duterte regime displayed slavishness and inability to uphold the country’s patrimony and sovereignty.
On the one hand, China emplaced hundreds of fishing vessels believed to be carrying armed troops around the Spratly Islands. They practically took over the fishing grounds and other resources in areas which form part of the Philippine maritime territory. In addition, they continue to ravage coral reefs in incessant land reclamation operations to build military facilities and fortify their military presence.
On the other hand, in a more direct and arrogant display of military superiority, 3,500 American troops swaggered into the country, welcomed by grovelers in the AFP. They brandished weapons such as nuclear warships, jet fighters and amphibious assault vehicles in line with the April 1-12 Balikatan exercises. Using the exercises as cover, the US military turned the country into a launchpad to sail its USS Wasp and fly F-35Bs in the vicinity of the Panatag Shoal traumatizing Filipino fishermen. This show of force aims to strengthen its military foothold in the country, and assert its hegemony in the South China Sea and the entire Pacific region.
Compared to China, the US mounts bigger and more aggressive interventionist military operations behind what it calls “freedom of navigation operations” and military treaties with the Philippines.
Big power saber-rattling increases the threat of war in the Pacific and undermines Philippine national sovereignty. These form part of the heightening struggle for military and economic superiority between the big powers. Both sides are interested only in advancing their competing aims to control trade routes, sources of raw material, cheap labor, spheres of investment, export markets, and military outposts.
The self-serving Duterte regime has acted servile and kowtowed to both sides. Seeking to further his bureaucrat capitalist and fascist interests, he has betrayed the country’s patrimony and sovereignty.
Duterte has given up the country’s maritime territory which is recognized even under the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas. He has also entered into onerous loan agreements and government contracts under which the country’s patrimony has been turned into collateral, in exchange for fat kickbacks for Duterte and his cronies.
On the other hand, with the collusion of Duterte and the AFP, US military forces are exercising all-out power. He has allowed the US to use the Philippines as base for its Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines. He has allowed the US to build secret facilities and stockpile weapons within AFP camps, mount more and more war exercises, set up radars and conduct drone surveillance, sail their warships across Philippine seas and dock them in civilian ports, and train and have operational control over AFP units. The Philippines remains bound to unequal military agreements. In exchange, the US has extended military assistance to Duterte’s all-out war supplying it with rifles, artillery, refurbished helicopters, drones, and other equipment.
These big power bullies profess friendship and alliance with the Filipino people. In fact, they only in pursue their own strategic geopolitical interests. China claims using its military might to make other countries grow. It merely covets the country’s mineral resources to feed its industries. It makes large amounts of loans to export surplus capital and make other countries buy its surplus steel.
The US claims “ironclad commitment to defend the Philippines” against “Chinese aggression.” In fact, it is the US that has long held the country in its clutches. The US maintains military dominance in the country to defend its own ultranational interests, not Philippine sovereignty.
US imperialism is not a friend, rather an enemy. It has long subjugated the country through a century of colonialism and neocolonialism, employing armed aggression and suppression. It has imposed trade agreements and economic policies which force dependence on imports, debt and foreign investments. Big American corporations have plundered and devoured the country’s forests and natural resources, grabbed vast agricultural tracts, exploited cheap labor, and siphoned super profits. It has stunted the economy, prevented it from industrializing and kept it as an exporter of cheap raw materials and semimanufactures.
Relative to the US imperialists, which have long plundered and devastated the Philippines, China is a late-comer, scraping the bottom of the country’s wealth.
The country remains under US imperialist domination. The ruling state in the Philippines is a client-state of the US, with the US-trained and -indoctrinated Philippine military serving as its strongest pillar. Duterte is its current chieftain. Armed with US-supplied weapons, the fascist regime employs and directs state violence against the Filipino people and all their patriotic and democratic forces.
These forces, including the Communist Party of the Philippines, stand firmly and militantly for the cause of national and social liberation. They demand foremost an end to US imperialist domination and condemn the subservience of the Philippine government. They clamor for the abrogation of US-RP military treaties and US military interventionism and seek to free the country from its economic and political clutches.
As patriots, they also condemn China’s bullying, military presence and occupation of Philippine maritime territory in the South China Sea and despoiliation of sea resources and denounce the failure of the Duterte regime to carry out the necessary diplomatic and political steps to assert the country’s rights. They oppose as well the onerous loans and anomalous overpriced infrastructure contracts with China.
While denouncing China’s intrusions and economic oppression, they do not lose sight of the bigger enemy and reserve the stronger condemnation to US imperialism whose military forces continue to maintain a foothold on Philippine soil, who control and arm the Philippine neocolonial state and which pose as the biggest impediment to the Filipino people’s aspiration for national and social liberation.