No to US-PH Balikatan exercises! Uphold our national sovereignty!

More and more, the Philippines is being sucked into the vortex of US imperialism’s saber-rattling schemes against China. Karapatan condemns the Marcos Jr. regime for being a willing pawn in the deadly game between the US and China, with potentially lethal repercussions for the Filipino people, who will be forced into a war not of their own making.

Nowhere is this demonstrated more clearly than in this year’s Balikatan exercises which will be held from April 22 to May 8, 2024 in various areas of Central Luzon. Balikatan 2024 will feature not just the sinking of a mock enemy ship through rocket launchers, shore- and ship-based artillery, helicopter attacks and precision-guided bombs from fighter jets, but will see the use of a newly acquired surface-to-air defense missile system called Spyder (Surface-to-air Python and Derby) from Israel.

Balikatan 2024 obviously simulates a full-scale attack by air and sea from China, which has become increasingly aggressive in asserting its maritime claims to wide swathes of disputed territory in the South China Sea, including those within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. It is a situation the US has been exploiting, alongside its systematic stoking of tensions over Taiwan, to seemingly provoke China into making moves that would justify US-led military action.

War has always been a convenient and lucrative outlet for US imperialism to resolve its economic crisis and distract the American people from confronting and acting on critical social issues.

Karapatan joins all freedom-loving peoples, both here and abroad, in closing ranks and building a broad solidarity front to expose, denounce and frustrate US imperialist designs to further stoke tensions and foment war in the Asia-Pacific region. It calls for the forging of a genuinely independent foreign policy that steers clear of both the US and Chinese imperialist ambits and advances the Filipino people’s sovereign rights and interests.