Karapatan reminds public on US troops’ atrocities under the VFA

"The murder of Jennifer Laude and the rape of 'Nicole' are not the only incidents committed by United States soldiers stationed here in the Philippines. With the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), the ‘Nicole’ and Laude cases will not be the last," Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said.  
 
 
 
"In fact, “Nicole’s”  case may be still fresh in our collective memory, but there is a long list of atrocities committed by US soldiers against fellow Filipinos, albeit concealed or denied,” Palabay said. Among the cases documented by Kawagib-Karapatan were:  
 
1. July 25, 2002, three soldiers forced themselves into the house of Buyong-buyong Isnijal, of Yakan tribe in Brgy. Camas, Tuburan, Basilan. According to Buyong-buyong’s wife, Juraida Hasalal Isnijal, two of the soldiers were Filipinos and one was a stocky-built African-American who was more than six feet tall. The American soldier, identified as Sgt. Reggie Lane shouted in English, “Sit down! Sit down!” This foreign soldier shot Buyong-buyong in the leg. The US military denied the shooting.  Two years later, in 2004, Dr. Julius Ceasar Aguila was mysteriously killed. Aguila, who was then chief of the Lamitan Distric Hospital earlier testified that Buyong-buyong was brought by members of the 14th Infantry Division with three US soldiers to the hospital. He identified Sgt. Lane as one of the US soldiers. Dr. Aguila personally know Sgt. Lane during medical missions they conducted in Lamitan, Basilan. 
2. In 2004, US soldiers shot and wounded Arsid Baharun while they were conducting marksmanship practice in Zamboanga City.
3. Sardiya Abu Calderon, 54, died of a heart attack when a helicopter with two American soldiers landed on their farm during a clearing operation conducted by the US troops and Filipino soldiers. The incident also happened in 2004.
4. On February 4, 2008, in Barangay Ipil, Maimbung, Sulu, Rawina Wahid and her family woke up to a series of gunshots near their house. When the shots stopped, they abandoned their house and boarded a banca, hoping they could find refuge in the mangroves. But the soldiers followed and started firing at them despite their cries of, “sibilyan kami” (We’re civilians). Rawina heard someone shout in English, “Hold your fire.” Seven civilians, including two children and two teenagers, were killed during the incident. Wahid, was also shot. She, with her husband’s body, was brought to a navy boat. There she saw two US Navy soldiers before she was blindfolded and later brought to a military camp. The Philippine Army later announced the incident as a military raid against Abu Sayyaf members and denied having US soldiers in the operation. 
5. In 2010, Gregan Cardeño was hired by a private military contractor to be an interpreter for US soldiers stationed in a military facility in Marawi City. He was well versed in Bahasa Indonesia, Tausug and Cebuano. His job started January 30, 2010. On February 2, at 2pm, Carivel, Gregan’s sister received a call through Cardeno’s phone. SPO3 Ali Goubon Rangiris of Marawi Police Station was on the line informing her that Cardeno was found dead in the barracks of the Philippine Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade at Camp Ranao, Brgy. Datu Saber, Marawi City. More than a month after Cardeno’s death, Capt. Javier Ignacio of the Philippine Army, a friend of Cardeno who recruited him for the job, was gunned down. Ignacio helped Cardeno’s family shed light on Gregan’s mysterious death.
  
The EDCA, signed by both Philippine and United States government, will increase US military presence in the Philippines. "With the one-sided agreement, only  favouring the US government at the expense of our sovereignty and liberties, crimes against the Filipinos committed by US soldiers are most likely to happen, in a larger and systematic scope, and with impunity," Palabay said. 

"Since the US-Aquino regime’s resorting to EDCA has put the people’s lives and liberties at stake, it is the Filipino people’s patriotic duty to resist it. We have done it before by pressuring the Philippine Senate to junk the RP-US Military Bases Agreement. We can do it again, and more. This time we will ensure that the US troops will go, along with the American puppets in the Philippine government," Palabay ended.  ###