By JORGE "Ka Oris" MADLOS
National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Mindanao
On the occasion of US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's two-day visit of to the Philippines, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Mindanao (NDF-Mindanao) reiterates the demand of the Filipino people for the US government to immediately pull-out the US Pacific Command's 600-strong Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTFP) from Mindanao and elsewhere in the Philippines.
Should the US refuse and instead continue heightening its military intervention and escalate its participation in counter-guerrilla operations, Mindanao and the entire Philippines could become another Afghanistan, Iraq or Vietnam where its forces will be caught in a spiral of armed mass resistance.
Despite persistent denials of Philippine and US officials, there is clear proof that US soldiers have been participating in counter-guerrilla operations jointly with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Mindanao and other parts of the Philippines. However, US military officials have been more forthright in bragging about the participation of American soldiers in operations against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Abu Sayaff.
This year, US military elements were documented to have had an active role along with AFP regular troops in four separate operations in the town of Quezon, and the cities of Malaybalay and Valencia in Bukidnon province. American soldiers penetrated local villages in search of local guerrilla units of the New People's Army (NPA). Since 2002, American troops have also been sighted in other parts of Mindanao, as well as in Samar, Panay, Bicol, Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon.
The NDF-Mindanao would like to warn Ms. Clinton that in participating in local counter-guerilla operations, US forces are bound to suffer a bigger number of casualties. Last September, at least two American soldiers were killed when ambushed in Indanan, Sulu by local armed groups. Earlier this year, an American soldier was wounded in Bicol when the AFP unit he was embedded in was ambushed by NPA Red fighters.
Highlighting Ms. Clinton's visit, the NPA has launched a series of tactical offensives and sanctions across Mindanao as one way of underscoring the demand of the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces for the Obama government to immediately withdraw all its forces from the country and to end its interventionist policy.
The NDF-Mindanao denounces the publicity gimmick of Ms. Clinton in her plan to have her picture taken with the victims of recent supertyphoons that left thousands homeless and more impoverished then before. This is hypocrisy of the highest sort!
It is a historical fact that US logging and mining companies and big agribusiness corporations have been the biggest plunderers of Philippine natural resources and pollutants of the environment. The destruction that they have caused and continue to cause is the single-biggest cause of landslides, flooding and ecological imbalance. They are among the biggest landgrabbers that have displaced millions of peasants and indigenous peoples in Mindanao and the entire country.
The US government is overlooking the responsibility of US monopoly corporations over the destruction of the Philippine environment. If Ms. Clinton and the Obama government were any sincere in the Filipino people's plight over the continued environmental degradation, they would compel logging and mining concessions and big agribusiness corporations, especially those which are directly-owned or are in partnership with US-based companies, to immediately stop their operations.
Instead, the US brazenly took advantage of the calamities by deploying American troops for so-called humanitarian operations which only serve to mask US imperialism's military interventionism.