Youth groups mobilize on anniversary of the Fil-American War
KABATAAN Partylist along with other progressive groups rallied to the US Embassy on Filipino American War marking the destructive history of our relations with the United States.
Members brought placards shaped like sea creatures in the wake of the USS Guardian docked on the Tubbataha Reef for more than two weeks resulting in more destruction of the reef.
The initially estimated damage of 1, 000 sq. meters has now ballooned into 4, 000 sq. meters. The prolonged presence of the minesweeper combined with the Aquino administration’s complacency and support for policies like the Visiting Forces Agreement has been the main culprit in this tragedy.
According to Atty. Terry Ridon, Kabataan Partylist President “these types of incidents have been going on ever since Americans entered the lives of Filipinos. The Fil-Am war which saw 1/6 of the local population wiped out is only one of the destructive events in our relations with the US.”
The size of the damage as recently reported is about the size of 10 basketball courts and will now require P96 million. This amount according to the youth groups is not only small, it underscores just what little regard both the administration and the US has for our sovereignty.
He added that “we don’t subscribe to the fact that the Aquino sponsored Visiting Forces Agreement has nothing to do with US ships doing as they please on our shores as this is exactly what the VFA permit. The USS Guardian has grossly overstayed its welcome.”
The groups also slammed the additional presence of the USS Cheyenne in Subic as reported earlier this week. They pointed out that this is proof of Aquino’s subservience and support for unfair agreements such as the VFA even if they continue to violate our sovereignty.
“While the USS Guardian has remains in our territory with the administration practically silent, hindi nakakagulat na may lakas loob ang US na mag port call nanaman sa may Subic” added Ridon.
“Violations of our sovereignty have now come at the price of our environment and national treasure, our World Heritage site. The VFA had previously been at the core of human rights violations, health and militarization of US troops; it persists as a threat to our patrimony” explained Ridon.
Kabataan called on all advocates of nationalism to unite and act on this issue, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) among others have been vocal on the topic. “It is particularly important to recognize the accountability of the regime for maintaining agreements like the VFA which are made to be abused by superpowers,” Ridon said.