Communist Party of the Philippines condemns US-RP joint military exercises in Panay

By Communist Party of the Philippines

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns the US and its puppet regime for the scheduled 25-day US-Philippine joint military exercises starting January 26 at Camp Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz in Panay island. Dubbed "Balance Piston 09-1," the military exercise is an instrument of the US in violating Philippine sovereignty and keeping a tight leash on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

In training of puppet troops for inter-operability with its armed forces and providing war materiél to the puppet army, the US military aims paves the way for increased intervention in the local armed conflict. Through its military doctrines, advisers, trainors, intelligence and arms support, the US has been directing and buttressing the local counterrevolutionary war and campaigns, hand-in-hand with its policy to dissuade and put an end to formal peace negotiations between its puppet regime and the local armed revolutionary forces.

The US-designed "counter-insurgency" Oplan Bantay Laya has become the principal tool of the Arroyo regime in waging a brutal, antipeople campaign of suppression and repression not only in areas of the armed revolutionary movement in the countryside but also in the open, legal and parliamentary arena of the patriotic and democratic mass struggles.

The CPP condemns the planned exercises which are being carried out in outright contempt of the Tumanduk people. Since the time of Gloria Arroyo's father, the puppet government and its armed forces have been violating the Tumanduks' ancestral rights over more than 33,000 hectares grabbed from them by the AFP to put up the second largest military camp in the country, and the largest on indigenous land. Diosdado Macapagal's Presidential Decree No. 67 in 1962 declared the area as a military reservation.

By holding the joint military exercises in Camp Peralta, the US military is rubbing salt on the collective wounds of the Tumanduk people who have been continually subjected to fascist terror and abuses by the puppet army. Aside from having been subjected to forceful eviction, Tumandok communities around the military camp are constantly raided by the puppet military, their residents subjected to military atrocities, their houses burned, their animals and farm products looted. Those who continue to till their land in the area are beaten up and arrested. Protesters against the military landgrabbing have always been dealt with violently.

The upcoming war exercises in Capiz as well as the planned Balikatan exercises in Bicol this April signal stepped-up US military intervention and direct involvement of US troops in the AFP's counterrevolutionary war against the New People's Army (NPA). Current joint military exercises are being conducted in these areas to pave the way for the US to gain more access to the NPA's areas of operation and thus be able to give more advice in the field and increasingly participate in direct and indirect intelligence, combat and other military operations against the revolutionary forces.

The CPP calls on the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces to expose and oppose Balance Piston 09-1 and the Bicol Balikatan exercises. The CPP directs NPA units, particularly those in Bicol and Panay, to intensify tactical offensives in their respective areas of operation in mockery of the US-RP joint military exercises and to prevent US troops from strengthening their foothold in these areas.