Aquino’s war in Zamboanga aimed to justify increased US troops’ presence in PH

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International today deplored the ongoing AFP and Malacanang-led all-out war policy in Zamboanga, saying that it is not meant to forge peace but to further intensify violence to justify increased US military presence in the Philippines.

“Pres. Aquino himself claimed full responsibility for the ongoing war. It has become more obvious that the Aquino administration is not sincere and interested in coming up with a peaceful resolution to the worsening humanitarian crisis in Zamboanga, at the expense of the lives and welfare of hundreds of thousands of civilians and residents in the area,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

The casualty count in Zamboanga has reached almost 300, with 104 dead and 193 wounded, since the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police first started their offensives 11 days ago. The fighting has already displaced some 120,000 residents and devastated houses, establishments and property.

“Blood is in Aquino’s hands in the same way that blood is in the hands of his war-mongering bosses in the United States,” Martinez said.

Martinez said that it is no secret that the US government has been rushing the Aquino government into signing the Access Agreement which would allow the US military unlimited access to the country’s military facilities.

“The Access Agreement, like the Visiting Forces Agreement, Balikatan exercises and other one-sided treaties, has been met with widespread protests and therefore not easily implementable. Aquino has to resort to measures that would justify its approval despite and in spite of protests.”

Martinez said that Aquino seems to be “acting on a deadline, hence his all-out war policy in Zamboanga” to pave conditions for the agreement’s signing in time for US Pres. Barrack Obama’s visit to the Philippines on October 11. “It is deplorable, cold-hearted and a merciless scheme on the part of Aquino just to please Obama.”

Even the US Embassy’s offer of “quick” assistance, the recent visit of Obama’s special assistant to Zamboanga, the USAID’s P26.4 million donation and the current presence of a number of US troops in Zamboanga, “are all part of the scenario”, he said.

Migrante International condemns in strongest terms Aquino’s war in Zamboanga as a pretext for allowing increased US presence in the Philippines. Migrante International calls on all peace- and freedom-loving Filipinos around the world to join the demand to end the humanitarian crisis in Zamboanga and to denounce the return of US troops and bases in the Philippines and in the Asia Pacific region. ###