Overawed by US military power and tied down by his regime’s dependence on US military financial assistance and hand-me-down war materiél, Duterte yesterday praised the US as “an important security ally,” less than a year after having declared his plan of “leaving the US” for China and Russia.
Duterte has now secured his place as a puppet of the US imperialists. He is now exhibiting complete subservience to US policies.
The Filipino people marked the historic Balangiga uprising yesterday by recalling how their forebears rose up against the abuses, torture and killings of the US colonial forces. Duterte did the opposite and chose to forget. He made a complete 180-degree turn from his audacious demand for the US to account for its crimes during the Filipino-American War, to his declaration yesterday that the US had already “redeemed” itself and that all the past transgressions are “water under the bridge.”
He has thanked the US military for its supposed help in Marawi in an attempt to cover-up US interventionism, in particular, the role of the US military in leading the Mamasapano-type operation to liquidate Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon which, in turn, instigated the Moro armed uprising in Marawi. Duterte also obscures how the US military has remote-controlled the AFP in the conduct the siege and the war of destruction through aerial bombardment against Marawi. Duterte also muddles the US role in organizing and arming the criminal Abu Sayyaf bandit group, as well as its meddling in the Moro question which has brought the Moro people farther away from realizing their right to self-determination.
Appeased by Duterte’s historical amnesia, the US government has now chosen to keep silent on the campaign of mass murder perpetrated by the Duterte regime in its triple wars of death and destruction. The US has become complicit in Duterte’s fascist crimes not only by its silence, but moreso, by providing it with bombs, helicopter gunships, drones, automatic rifles, bullets and so on, second-hand and all.
Under Duterte, the US military has been given all-out access to dock its ships, station its weapons, fly its drones, gather electronic intelligence, drop its bombs and forward deploy its warships for power projection in the South China Sea. Using the cover of so-called “joint exercises”, the US military continues to entrench itself in the country in violation of Philippine sovereignty.
The US military is set to further strengthen its presence in the Philippines. Together with the AFP, it is set to complete 257 “exercises” in the country this year. It is hyping-up the so-called ISIS-threat in order to justify and draw public support for heightened US military presence in the country. With Duterte, the US is now also playing-up the supposed “drugs-terrorism” combination. More exercises are being planned for next year.
In the face of continued US violation of Philippine sovereignty, its criminal role in the destruction of Marawi and complicity in the Duterte regime’s spree of extrajudicial killings and all-out violations of human rights, the planned visit of US President Trump on November will surely be met with widespread protests by the Filipino people.