US, Hands Off the Philippines!

The US-led Balikatan war exercises present a clear and impending threat to the lives of the Filipino people as Marcos Jr. willingly surrenders the country to become a staging point for US military aggression against China. Under the guise of “routine military operations,” these war games form part of a broader strategy of US imperialist warmongering and reckless brinkmanship tactics.

The US government’s aggressive posturing in the region is guided by its first island chain strategy aimed at encircling China by establishing a US-controlled ‘defense’ perimeter stretching from the Kuril Islands, Japan, Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan, Northern Philippines, and to Borneo. In the current context of brewing inter-imperialist conflict, the island chain strategy seeks to constrain China’s maritime expansion and limit its influence in the Asia-Pacific region. By fortifying key islands and maritime chokepoints, the US aims to create a buffer zone that would not only impede China’s access to strategic waters, but also set the ground for the US to constantly “test the waters” and provoke China into firing the first shot.

Should China fire the first shot, the US plans to invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) it has with the Philippines to further justify escalated US military actions in the region.

The Balikatan exercises this year, the biggest in history with more than 11,000 US troops participating, serve as a visible display of military force intended to send a clear message to China – that the US is ready for war. These exercises seek to project the combined military strength of the US and its participating allies France and Australia.

The Balikatan exercises have also been expanded and intensified in response to perceived Chinese aggression in the South China Sea, serving as pretext for the US to continue pushing the boundaries by stationing warships closer and closer to China’s doorsteps. The so-called “supply missions” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to the ‘stranded’ BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal represent a calculated move by the US to justify continued war provocations. On the other hand, Marcos Jr. effectively abdicates Philippine sovereignty in exchange of imperialist favor by allowing troops to be stationed closer to Chinese territory, further cementing its status as a puppet regime.

The repeated visits of US security officials, including the likes of US State Secretary Anthony Blinken to the Philippines last March serve to ensure continued subservience from the Marcos Jr. government and the AFP. In the same breath, the recently concluded trilateral summit between the US, Japan and the Philippines revealed Biden’s true militarist intention to rally its allies and puppet regimes in the region to march in lockstep with US war designs in Asia. Talks are already underway for another ‘visiting forces agreement’ between the Philippines and Japan. On top of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which creates legal pretext for US military bases in the Philippines, allowing Japanese forces to set foot on Philippine soil will add more US-allied troops to maintain their presence in service of US war preparations.

In addition, the introduction of the new Philippine Enhanced Resilience Act (PERA Act) in the US Senate seeks to smoothen politico-economic restructuring needed to allow continued US military presence in the Philippines. Through the proposed provision of $2.5 billion in foreign military funding to the Philippines, the bill ensures continued alignment of the AFP with US foreign policy objectives while allowing access to strategic resources in the Philippine archipelago.

Upon US imperialist prodding, the Marcos Jr. regime further stokes the flames of inter-imperialist war by capitalizing on the Filipino public’s anger towards China to justify continued provocations. By overemphasizing China’s “grey tactics” in the contested waters of the South China Sea, the US seeks to manufacture consent for its warmongering agenda, all at the expense of the lives of the Filipino masses which will be the first threatened should an all-out war break out between US and China.

It is abundantly clear that the US intends to use Marcos and the AFP as proxies to intensify confrontations and instigate Chinese armed reaction. The AFP’s new deadline to defeat the New People’s Army (which they now failed to meet yet again) serves the US agenda of pivoting the reactionary armed forces to ‘territorial defense’.

US military interventions in the Philippines is bound to intensify fueled by Biden’s failures in its NATO-assisted war against Russia and its continued support for Zionist Israel’s genocidal crusade in Palestine. Biden’s desperate bid for reelection on November this year provides further motivation for the US to spark a new warfront in Asia by way of instigating conflict with China and portraying Biden as the ‘defender of small nations.’ To this effect, the US propaganda machine is working doubly to portray Marcos Jr. as the ‘new Zelensky’ which seeks to obscure and distort the reality of US imperialist aggression and warmongering.

In the face of the growing threat of US military intervention in the Philippines and war provocations against China, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines International Office (NDFP IO) joins all national democratic organizations, anti-war groups and peace-loving peoples in resisting and condemning these actions unequivocally.

US Hands Off the Philippines!

Resist US military intervention in the Philippines!

Reject US war provocations against China!

Condemn Marcos Jr.’s attempts to drag the Philippines at the center of imperialist war!

Marcos/AFP, US imperialist puppets!

Not in our seas! Not in our name!

Junk EDCA! Junk VFA! Junk MDT!

Stop the bombings in the Philippines!

Advance the people’s war for national liberation and democracy!

NDFP International Office