US Troops Out NOW Mindanao coalItion
Reference : Bishop Rudy Juliada, 09217496330
Out Now Mindanao to Hillary Clinton: Mindanaoans want Visiting Forces
Agreement (VFA) abrogated, pull out US troops now
The US Troops Out Now! Mindanao Coalition believes that Secretary
Clinton’s rhetoric of supporting peace in Mindanao must begin with the
scrapping of the VFA, the pull out some 600 embedded American soldiers in
Mindanao, and the demolition of US military structures in the island.
It stressed that the VFA is unconstitutional and that the Filipino people
judge this as a lopsided agreement between the subservient Arroyo
government and the world’s superpower.
The group dared Clinton not to make a propaganda stint by highlighting
America’s peace agenda in Mindanao because its hidden motive is to control
the island’s natural gas, oil and other resources, military basing areas,
as well as international trade routes.
Out Now! convenor Bishop Rudy Juliada of the Iglesia Filipina
Independiente said Clinton represents an American policy that has not
changed even with the new Obama administration.
He cited Barack Obama’s reversal from his anti-war promises to the
American people which swept him to power by repeating the war stance this
time in Afghanistan.
Bishop Juliada said that they are apprehensive that Clinton upholds the
same policy as former President Bush did on the Philippines, Mindanao in
particular, as the second front of the US-led “war on terror”.
Clinton is the face of an imperialist and militarist Washington, never
learning from its failure in their war in Iraq and Vietnam, which they
continue to commit in Afghanistan.
He said Clinton should see the VFA as a “treaty” that has enforced
militarism in Mindanao, having brought about more problems rather than
solutions such as violations of sovereignty and human rights.
Bishop Juliada cited cases where US soldiers have been involved in combat
and espionage operations, including the recent ambush in Sulu which killed
US soldiers in an operation. On February 2008, families in Maimbung, Sulu
were massacred by Philippine soldiers accompanied by US troops.
In a more recent incident, US soldiers have reportedly distributed
coloring books to children in Lanao del Norte which contained messages of
counter-terrorism. Out Now says that soldiers involved in these incidents
cannot be charged for these crimes because of the VFA.
There’s no peace without justice for the victims, and there's no peace
when a superpower enforces this with a gun, Juliada said.
The coalition -- formed by patriotic sectors from the religious, local
officials, academe, lawyers and people’s organizations – urges the
scrapping of the VFA and calls on more pressure on the national government
to heed such calls.
The group has called for the abrogation of the VFA before a hearing of the
Legislative Oversight Committee on the VFA chaired by Senator Miriam
Defensor-Santiago in September 2008.
November 12, 2009
Suara Bangsamoro to Clinton: Keep out of Mindanao and Bring US Troops
In light of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visit to the
Philippines, the militant Moro organization Suara Bangsamoro is one
with the rest of the Filipino people who protest and raise question as
to the real agenda of the state visit.
Amirah Ali Lidasan, spokesperson of Suara Bangsamoro, is calling for
Secretary Clinton to keep her hands off Mindanao and bring home with
her the 600 US soldiers permanently deployed in Mindanao.
Lidasan believes that Clinton’s visit will gloss over the Moro
people’s protest against the violations that the US troops has
committed against the Moro people in Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga, Lanao
As evidenced by the death of the two US soldiers in Sulu last October
2009 and the testimony of Navy Lt. Nancy Gadian, US soldiers have been
actively directing and leading combat operations of Filipino soldiers
in Mindanao that has resulted to the displacement of the residents and
has endangered the lives of the civilians in areas targeted as Abu
Sayyaf havens, the recent incident of which happened during an AFP
operation in Indanan, Sulu that has resulted to the bombing of a
mosque and displacement and wounding of civilians.
Lidasan further believes that Secretary Clinton’s visit will only
continue to bolster the government’s anti-terror measures that have
violated the civil and political rights of Moro civilians in Mindanao.
If the US military aid continues, the Philippine government will
continue to arrest civilians without warrants, vilify religious
leaders and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National
Liberation Front through their Rewards for Justice Program and
incessant accusations that, as per intelligence reports, the MILF and
MNLF are harboring Abu Sayyaf and Jeemayat Islamiya terrorists.
Contrary to Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao regional executive
secretary Oscar Sampulna’s statement, the Moro people have nothing to
be “grateful” to Secretary Clinton and her government for the
implementation of projects by the US Agency for International
Development (USAID), as this was done with strings attached such as
conditioning the people that the US soldiers are here to stay and
along with it is the establishment of permanent structures for their
Lidasan further believes that Moro people is better off without
Secretary Clinton and its government dabbling into the peace process
and should instead expose the real political and economic interest of
the US government in Mindanao as evidenced by the recent signing of
Exxon-Mobil for the exploration of oil deposits in Sulu.#
Amirah Ali Lidasan
Suara Happy for Sinnot’s release, But Doubts Timing on Clinton’s Visit
Suara Bangsamoro is one with the rest of Mindanaoans who are happy to see
that Father Michael Sinnot has been freed after a month in captivity and
hopes that the rest of those abducted in Basilan and Sulu will also be
immediately released and not meet the fate of kidnap victim Gabriel
Canizares who was killed and beheaded due to his family’s failure to pay
According to Amirah Ali Lidasan, spokesperson of Suara Bangsamoro, her
organization prays for the safety of those abducted and hopes that the
Philippine government will also act swiftly on the release as it had acted
on Father Sinnot’s release.
Lidasan said that it was worth noting that the release of foreign
nationals who were kidnapped were timed during state visits of high level
US government officials – such as Father Eugenio Vagni at the visit of CIA
director Leon Panetta in July and now Father Sinnot at the visit of US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
It is also worth remembering that days before former US President George
Bush’s state visit to President Macapagal-Arroyo on October 2003, the
Philippine government announced the capture and death of Jeemayat Islamiya
member Fathur Al-Gozi.
Lidasan also noted that Father Sinnot would have been released earlier had
it not been for the meddling of Interior and Local Government Secretary
Ronaldo Puno and his vilification campaign against the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front who have offered help for Father Sinnot’s release.
Lidasan said that Clinton’s gift of US$2 million military aid have made
quite a big impression upon the Philippine government that it had
immediately decided to work with the MILF for the facilitation of the
Lidasan hopes that the government will really look into the reasons behind
the rising kidnapping in Mindanao and added that if the Arroyo government
has the political will, then the kidnapping incidents in Mindanao will be
The longer the kidnapping incidents continue in Mindanao, the more are
people harboring suspicions of possible collusion between the military,
local government units and the Abu Sayyaf and other local kidnappers.#