Harris visit amid heightening US military intervention in PH and stoking inter-imperialist war

Marco Valbuena | Chief Information Officer | Communist Party of the Philippines

November 17, 2022

The Party and Filipino patriotic and revolutionary forces denounce the scheduled visit next week of US Vice President Kamala Harris as it serves the purpose of heightening US military intervention in the country and in the Asia-Pacific region, further stoking tensions with China, and further raising the possibility of inter-imperialist war.

The visit by Harris come a few weeks after her visit to Japan and South Korea, which were undertaken to put into display the US military firepower in Asia. Around the same time, US Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in what was considered a show of outright contempt for the One China policy. Next week, to brandish US military power, Harris plans to visit Palawan where the US military maintains and plans to expand its naval facilities.

The Harris visit form part of the continuing efforts of the US to stoke an armed conflict with China, directly or through its military stooges and allies, which will endanger the security of the Filipino people and put the country’s sovereignty to risk.

The CPP condemns the Marcos regime for its subservience to the US in agreeing to open five more locations or camps of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to serve as hosts for building US military bases and facilities in the country, under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). The plan to set up two military installations in Cagayan, and one each in Palawan, Zambales and Isabela are clearly part of the US aim of using the country as a military foothold for containing the growth of China as a military power in order to maintain US hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region.

The declared aim to open five more US miltiary bases and facilities in the Philippines come after the US government approved plans to spend $66 million for upgrading their bases and facilities at the Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro, Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan and Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu.

The Marcos declared foreign policy of “friends to everyone, enemy to none,” in practice, is military and economic subservience to both the US and China, which makes the country into a target for all. On the one hand, Marcos is displaying utter spinelessness in turning a blind eye to China’s continuing construction and expansion of military bases in the West Philippine Sea in exchange for promised loans for infrastructure projects and Chinese investments in destructive reclamation and mining operations. On the other hand, he continues to allow the US to construct more military bases in the country’s territory and tighten its control of the Philippine armed forces, in exchange for more bombs and bullets and investments in the expansion of mining and plantations.

In both ways, Marcos is pushing the Philippines into the accelerating vortex of inter-imperialist armed conflict. Like Duterte before him, Marcos has completely lacks any sense of national dignity and is willing to allow the US and China to turn the Philippines into their military outpost, and is only interested how much money he and his ilk can pocket from grants, loans, aid that come from either imperialist power.

Amid the downturn of the global capitalist system and threats of another round of recession, the Biden government is becoming more bellicose than ever before. It continues to stoke the war in Ukraine with military aid (as much as $18.6 billion over the past nine months (equivalent to more than 21 years of the Philippine’s ₱5 trillion national budget) that has fattened the profit-hungry US military industry. The US military has deployed tens of thousands of American troops in Poland and Lithuania, raising the possibility of direct US involvment in the war in Ukraine against Russia.

In the Philippines, the US continues to strengthen its military foothold with regular docking of nuclear-capable US warships, rotational presence of American soldiers in different parts of the country, and annual war exercises conducted under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

The US also continues to feed the Philippine armed forces with foreign military financing to conduct a brutal counterinsurgency war marked by rampant human rights violations. US military advisers continue to direct the AFP in counterguerrilla operations using military drones, jet fighters and attack helicopters, and artillery weapons to stage wanton aerial bombings and shelling that terrorize communities and damage their farms and natural resources. Harris’ upcoming visit will serve to boost the Philippine military’s campaign of suppression across the country, even as more and more groups, sectors as well as progressive lawmakers in the US raise the demand for the Biden government to stop funding the brutal war of the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

With the Harris visit, we are reminded of the crimes perpetrated by the US military against the Filipino people, from the hundreds of thousands who died during the Filipino-American war at the turn of the 20th century, to the countless Filipinos who were raped, killed and maimed by American soldiers, none of whome were ever punished for their crimes, including Lance Corporal Daniel Smith (Subic Rape Case) and Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton (killing of Jennifer Laude), who are now both back in the US despite their conviction for their crimes of rape and murder.

We urge the Filipino people, especially their patriotic and democratic forces, to denounce the upcoming visit of US Vice President Kamala Harris and demand an end to US provocations of inter-imperialist war, and end to US military intervention in the Philippines, for the abrogation of the EDCA, the VFA, the Mutual Defense Treaty and other unequal military treaties, for the dismantling of US military bases and facilities in the Philippines, and for the removal of all American military troops in the country.