By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
26 January 2002
The principle of national sovereignty is one of the mutually acceptable principles guiding the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, as set forth in The Hague Joint Declaration. Serious violations of said principle by the GRP prejudice the negotiations.
The NDFP therefore condemns a number of acts that the GRP has already committed in gross violation of the principle of national sovereignty and The Hague Joint Declaration. The GRP has also violated its own constitution, which prohibits foreign military bases, troops and facilities on Philippine territory, and even the Visiting Forces Agreement, particularly certain limits on unilateral acts of US military forces.
The acts violative of national sovereignty and territorial integrity are as follows:
1. In a meeting in Hawaii between defense secretary Gen. Angelo Reyes and Adm. Dennis Blair, commander-in-chief of the US Pacific Command, the latter and AFP chief-of-staff Diomedio Villanueva signed the Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement (MLSA). This “arrangement” carries a provision which commits to US military forces support services, including billeting, communications services and construction of bases for operations. It also presumes the availability of public funds for purposes of the MLSA.
2. As the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) Commission under the office of secretary of foreign affairs Teofisto Guingona has reported, such violations of the VFA as unilateral flights, exclusive training exercises of US troops and instances of damaging the environment have been committed by US military forces within Philippine territory. Guingona has also publicly complained against the scheme to allow the stay of the US military forces in the country beyond the short visit of one month for joint training exercise allowed under the VFA.
3. Now hundreds upon hundreds of US combat troops (marines, army green berets, air force special forces, navy seals and so on) are pouring into Zamboanga and into the combat area that is Basilan island. According to defense secretary Reyes, they are no longer bound by the rule under the VFA that they can come in only for short visits to conduct joint training exercises of no more than four weeks per but they can come for joint combat operations of 6 months to one year. He has also announced that joint combat operations against the New People’s Army will follow those against the Abu Sayyaf.
Ms Macapagal has assumed full responsibility for all the foregoing acts, which flagrantly violate national sovereignty. She has gone to the extent of making the false assertion that a valid treaty exists, mutually ratified by the US and the Philippine governments, allowing US military bases, troops or facilities in the Philippines, despite the prohibition thereof in the GRP constitution. She also misses the point that the US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty can be invoked only against external aggression and that the two contracting parties are subject to their respective constitutional processes regarding the waging of war.
She upholds defense secretary Angelo Reyes as having been vested by her with the authority to bypass foreign secretary Teofisto Guingona and preempt him from performing his responsibilities as chairman of the Philippine side in the bilateral US-RP council of ministers (composed of foreign secretary Guingona and US Secretary of State Colin Powell) and as the direct supervisor of the VFA Commission.
Macapagal and Reyes behave similarly in connection with the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. She allows him to use his position as defense secretary and as member of the cabinet oversight committee to overrule another cabinet member, secretary Eduardo Ermita of the office of the presidential adviser on the peace process, on matters pertaining to the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
In several instances, the NDFP negotiating panel has observed Reyes acting over the head of Ermita to prevent the GRP negotiating panel from signing documents with the NDFP negotiating panel even if such documents fall within the competence of the two negotiating panels, as defined by the ground rules of the negotiations and the agreements already signed and approved by the principals.
The NDFP finds it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to negotiate with the GRP in a situation where Ms Macapagal allows defense secretary Reyes to arbitrarily overrule, lay aside or waste basket any draft worked out by the GRP and the NDFP negotiating panels. The NDFP considers as unacceptable a situation where Reyes acts as the saboteur of the peace negotiations and Ms Macapagal allows him to do so.
It can be said that Ms Macapagal and defense secretary Reyes somehow use each other and serve the same imperialist master. What the NDFP is most concerned about and must condemn is the brazen acts of puppetry and treason for which they are mutually responsible. These acts jeopardize in a very fundamental way the continuance of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
The deployment of US military forces in the combat area of Basilan can start a chain of events for rationalizing further US military intervention and aggression and wreaking havoc on the lives and property of the Filipino people. In this regard, it is pertinent to recall the way the US prepared its war of aggression in the Philippines as early as 1898 and in Vietnam in the 1960s.
Ms Macapagal is far worse than her puppet predecessors on the question of national sovereignty. Even during the decades of the Cold War, her predecessors never found it necessary to call for large numbers of US troops to join puppet troops in the field in order to fight the NPA, the MNLF or the MILF, despite their bigger fears about these revolutionary forces getting support from foreign governments.
The Macapagal regime knows no bounds for its shamelessness. It magnifies a small bandit gang Abu Sayyaf as a colossal problem of terrorism and uses it as a pretext for the deployment of US combat forces in our country. It is public knowledge that the Abu Sayyaf is a creation of the CIA and its Filipino assets and could have long been wiped out were it not for the complicity of high-ranking AFP officers in its kidnap-for-ransom operations and, of course, in the sharing of ransom payments.
The US and the Macapagal regime are using the joint combat operations against the Abu Sayyaf gang as pretext for laying the ground to extend such operations against the NPA as well as against the MILF and MNLF of Nur Misuari. These joint combat operations are a preparation for the US to establish military bases or facilities in Mindanao, right in the middle of the so-called BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, East Asia Growth Area). In this regard, the US has stirred up ethnic and religious conflicts in the region precisely to create opportunities for undertaking military intervention and establishing military bases or facilities.
But the Filipino people and revolutionary forces refuse to be intimidated by US military intervention , aggression and other acts of imperialist hegemony. They do everything possible to stop the entry of US combat forces and the reestablishment of US military bases and, if these cannot be stopped, they are prepared to shift from a situation of civil war to a war of national liberation against US aggression.
The escalation of US military intervention will only challenge the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces to fight ever more determinedly for national liberation, attain justice for the entire nation against the brutal crimes committed by the US in the conquest of the Philippines from 1899 onwards and free themselves from the daily violence of superexploitation by US monopoly capitalism.