Aquino’s inconsistencies on sovereignty issues show GPH loyalty to US interests

“Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s suspiciously prudent stance on the presence of minesweeper USS Guardian inside Philippine territory pales in comparison to his hysterics on China’s claim to the disputed islands in the South China Sea. Hence, it further reveals the Aquino government’s inconsistencies in dealing with the issue of sovereignty – that its loyalties and interests lie with the United States government, to the detriment of Philippine sovereignty and people’s rights,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan. 

Karapatan lamented the fact that it has been several days since the USS Guardian crashed into a part of the Tubbataha Reef but “the government only assumed a ‘business as usual’ attitude and instead raised the issue the territorial disputes with China before an Arbitral Tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).” 

USS Guardian @Tubbataha 

She said that Aquino is particularly interested in acquiring the US$30 million of military aid allocated by the US government.  “That would explain the why the government condones the unauthorized entry of the USS Guardian at Tubbataha reef.  The Aquino government had a similar reaction when a BQM-74E target drone was recovered in waters off San Jacinto town on Ticao Island, Masbate in January 7. It’s a classic display of mendicancy and subservience to the US,” Palabay explained. 

The US Senate Committee on Appropriations recently recommended US$30 million military assistance for the Philippines for the use of the Philippine Navy and Air Force this year.

Karapatan took note of an increasing presence of US troops and several US war vessels in the Philippines. “The US troops’ presence and the continuing flow of US military aid for the Armed Forces of the Philippines are conspicuous factors that strengthen our belief that the US government and the Aquino administration are working double time to meet their deadline of the phase 1 of the US-inspired Oplan Bayanihan by year end,” Palabay said. 

The Oplan Bayanihan, authored by the newly appointed AFP chief of staff Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, is the Filipino version of the US Counterinsurgency Guide. The first phase of Oplan Bayanihan is due to end this year. It aims, at the minimum, to “neutralize” all the armed groups perceived by the government as ‘threats to national security’.  Karapatan said that “Oplan Bayanihan’s phase 2 gears the AFP towards ‘external security’ simultaneous with the US government’s ‘Asian pivot’.”

“The release of a part of the US military aid, amounting to US$3 million, is dependent on the measures that will be taken by the Aquino government to supposedly end extrajudicial killing and other human rights violations – measures that, as Aquino’s current posturing on human rights issues indicate, smack of tokenism,” Palabay quipped.  

Under the Aquino government, Karapatan documented 137 cases of extrajudicial killings (as of December 2012).