China’ funded communist in the Philippines will Block VFA Australia

Australia is caught in a political row in the Philippines over American forces in Asia and the Pacific.

Against a clamor from activist groups, the Philippines senate leader has warned that with China flexing its muscle, now is not the time to block Australian forces.

Anti-war and civil society groups in the Philippines are campaigning against the renewal of a military agreement with Australia.

The Visiting Forces Agreement, or VFA, with Australia goes before the Philippines senate next month for a final vote on ratification.

Philippines non-government organizations see the agreement with Australia as part of a US-led military build-up in the Asian region, and plan to stage a protest outside the Australian embassy in Manila later this week.

60 per cent American Power in Asia

The protesters point out - as recently announced - that America plans to station about 60 per cent of its war fleet in the Asian region by 2020.

Agreements on big US bases in the Philippines were revoked after the fall of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

However, activist groups say since then Philippines governments have used the VFAs to effectively re-base significant US military forces there.

Corazon Fabros, lead convenor of the Stop the War Coalition in the Philippines, told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific program: "The presence of foreign troops in our country does not help in terms of maintaining peace and security."

She claims the Philippines constitution prohibits a US armed presence.

The coalition says joint military exercises are bad for local communities because they generate prostitution and sexual abuse of women.

Also, "we've had many experiences with the United States forces of injuries and damage to properties," Ms Fabros said.

"We feel that the VFA has been a way for the United States and our government to get around the prohibition against the presence of US troops in our country."

Overseas forces, she said. are not bound by local laws. "We've had a very controversial experience in the recent past, of the rape of a Filipina by a US marine.

"That had been a classic example of how a US soldier has been treated and privileged, if they commit a crime on Philippine soil."

The Philippines senate will be considering the issue of the VFA with Australia at the end of July.

Philippines Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile has warned that now is not the time to abandon the VFA with Australia - especially given China's muscle-flexing in the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea).

Ms. Fabros said the "China question" is often trotted out as a justification.

"We are definitely against using our territory for the training and military exercises," she told Radio Australia.

"We're not at war with any country; we need to uphold the Philippine constitution. We need strong allies, far beyond being used as military training ground and the rest and recreation of foreign troops.

"The Philippines should develop strong diplomatic ties with other countries, especially with its neighboring nations, around Asia and the Pacific, to forge cooperation.

"We need to maintain our friendly relations, our independence, our neutrality."

Reasons:

China funded communist party in the Philippines want to block the VFA Australia for the following reasons:

  • The coalition says joint military exercises are bad for local communities because they generate prostitution and sexual abuse of women.
  • Philippines is independent and must stand alone without Australia or US Powers

The Question is.. What shall be done? Who to stand with? 

ABC Radio Australia

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