Migrante slams US military chief’s visit

As the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey visits Manila today for “security talks”, Migrante International renewed calls to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and to stop increased US military presence in the country.

“Increased US military presence in the country will not bring national security. The VFA and the government’s all-out support to imperialist war-mongering are testament to Aquino’s adherence to a one-sided foreign policy at the expense of national security and sovereignty,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

Furthermore, he said, Dempsey’s visit may be in accordance with the US Counter-Insurgency Strategy from which the Aquino government’s Oplan Bayanihan is patterned. Oplan Bayanihan, like former Pres. Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Banty-Laya, aims to quell dissent and suppress civil liberties.

He said that Migrante International is opposed to the VFA and intensified US military presence in the Philippines because it will only serve the geo-political and military interests of the US in the Asia Pacific.

“Nothing good will come out of it for the country and the Filipino people.”

Prostitution and sex trafficking

Martinez added that, historically, the presence of US troops in the Philippines and Asia Pacific has had “disastrous effects” on the Filipino people, especially women.

“Whenever there are US troops, prostitution thrives. For Filipino women, there is a direct link between heightened US military presence and prostitution and sex-trafficking. Even overseas, we know that Filipino women are being sex-trafficked into South Korea and Japan for US troops stationed there,” he said.

Close to where US military bases are in Asia, he said, there are thousands of Filipino women being prostituted in entertainment bars. “In these clubs, women are working in degrading environments and are victimized by prostitution.”

Filipino migrant workers are recruited and sent to countries where there are US bases to become sex workers, he said.  A survey by the Saewoomtuh or Sprouting Land Center for Prostituted Women in Seoul showed that almost 85 percent of all entertainers in the country are Filipinas.

Migrante International unites with other sectors of Philippine society to condemn the Aquino administration’s puppetry and policy of subservience to US dictates that perpetuate the present worsening socio-economic crisis in the Philippines.###