a fortnightly publication of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines
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Balikatan war games turn PH into military camps versus China

As the US and the Marcos puppet regime connive to stir war against China, US military troops have turned several parts of the Philippines into US military camps as they conduct “war exercises” as preparations for a direct military confrontation with China, and further heat up the conflict in the West Philippine Sea.

According to Ang Bayan (the official news organ of the CPP), thousands of US military troops are currently scattered in many parts of the country and have started several war maneuvers and activities. Together with their puppet AFP and other foreign troops from Australia, Korea, and Japan, the US military are set to hold nationwide “war exercises” called “Balikatan” on April 22.

Citing several reports, Ang Bayan monitored anti-submarine maneuvers in Palawan and the Marine Exercise 2024 or MAREX, the supposed “first” US marine exercises in Central Mindanao which started on April 19 at Camp Iran Un in Brgy. Togaig, Barita and Brgy. Pura, Datu Blah Sinsuat, all in Maguindanao del Norte.

In addition, Ang Bayan noted the Salaknib Exercises  in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija with the participation of 4,000 soldiers from the 5th ID and 7th ID of the AFP and American troops from the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th ID. Cope Thunder, on the other hand, is being conducted at the Northern Luzon Intensive Military Training Area, Basa Air Base and Brigadier General Benito N Ebuen Air Base.

On April 9, the US Indo Pacific Command announced through its social media accounts that American forces conducted live-fire exercises in the Philippine Sea using the USS Ralph Johnson-DDG 114. On the same day, the USS Theodore Roosevelt conducted routine flight operations, to flaunt to China the “readiness” of the US Pacific Fleet forces under the US 7th Fleet and its “support” in the Philippines.

Live-fire exercise conducted by USS HIGGINS (DDG 76) and USNS Meanwhile, in the northernmost part of Luzon, in Mavulis and Basco, the people are bracing themselves for the holding of the “Balikatan 39-2024”. In October 2023, the puppet AFP established the Mavulis island detachment. It also built a Naval Forward Operating Base on Batan Island.

In addition, a “civilian sea port” on the island will reportedly be built by American soldiers this April. These facilities are in addition to the existing US military camp in Calayan island and “EDCA sites” in Lallo and Sta. Ana, Cagayan and not far from these two military bases is another “EDCA site” in Gamu, Isabela. These US bases and facilities are the closest to Taiwan and that war games conducted there are clear provocations to China.

Ang Bayan said: “The upcoming Balikatan is a big threat to the livelihood of the Ivatans and Cagayanons. This causes more unease in their communities…They also fear that the residents and fisherfolk in Batanes and Cagayan will be restricted, similar to what is happening to fisherfolk in Palawan and other areas in the West Philippine Sea.”

(Culled from Ang Bayan, with reports from Baringkuas, the revolutionary newspaper of the people of Cagayan, January-March 2024).