a fortnightly publication of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines
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Balikatan war games met with strong condemnation

From its start on April 22 and its end on May 10, the Balikatan 39-24 (war exercises) was met with protests and strong condemnation from the people.

In a statement last May 10, the CPP said:  “In collusion with the Marcos regime and its armed forces, the US government and military showed utter contempt for Philippine sovereignty and security when it used the country as a launching pad for its inordinate display of firepower to serve its obsession with provoking a war with its imperialist rival China.”

On April 22, the start of Balikatan, progressive organizations led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN, New Patriotic Alliance) protested before Camp Aguinaldo, headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to denounce the war games which they said was “shameful proof of the subservient foreign policy of the government of Ferdinand Marcos Jr.”

This war exercise is the 39th since it was first launched in the 1990s and is considered the largest in history with 11,000 American soldiers and 5,000 Filipino troops participating. Military officials representing 14 other foreign countries also reportedly entered the country to participate and observe.

On May 6, fisherfolk and residents of Laoag City greeted the first day of the Balikatan Exercises at the La Paz sand dunes in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte with protests.

Fisherfolk in the coastal areas of Metro La Paz, Metro Gabu and Caawacan in Laoag City complained about the No Sail Zone imposed on their fishing grounds in favor of the live fire exercises. The Fisherfolk association of the village said fishermen would lose their even their meager earnings because of the prohibition for them to fish for five to eight days while the war exercises were going on.

In Melbourne, Australia, last week, members of the Kabataang Makabayan (KM, Patriotic Youth), a member organization of the NDFP, daringly staged a protest by painting the words ‘US out of PH’ and ‘US troops out of PH now’ on the wall and glass of the US consulate in the city. KM members wore face coverings to protect their identities while they carried out the protest during the night.

Meanwhile, several international groups have launched the Cancel the RIMPAC 2024 campaign last April 10, to condemn and oppose the scheduled war exercises to be launched by the US in different parts of Asia and the US from June 29 to August 4.