Posted by: kawagib | February 19, 2008

President Arroyo disregarded people’s call against Balikatan exercises in Mindanao

Despite calls from different sectors to stop Balikatan exercises in Mindanao the joint PR-US military training is scheduled today February 18, 2008 to March 03, 2008 in Sulu, Basilan, Bukidnon, Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte and in North Cotabato.

Arroyo administration disregarded calls from different sectors to stop holding of Balikatan in the country especially in Mindanao and investigate human rights violations committed by US troops.

This only shows how irresponsible and inutile the Arroyo administration as they ignored calls from ordinary citizens. Instead of listening to the sentiments of the people Pres. Arroyo favored Bush government to hold Balikatan in the country to run after the terrorists.

The Philippine government and the US officials claim that the presence of US troops in Mindanao is merely to provide assistance to the Philippine army and for humanitarian and medical missions for the people Mindanao but what kind of support? Is there an assurance that these troops will not join the actual combat operations?

In 2002, Buyung-Buyung Isnijal was shot allegedly by an American soldier identified by witnesses as a certain Sgt. Reggie Lane , who was accused of participating in a military operation on July 27, 2002 in Tuburan, Basilan.

Also, the shooting and maiming of civilians purportedly by US soldiers who accidentally fired at civilians in the community while on their testing missions. One case was the shooting and wounding of Arsid Baharun in Zamboanga City while soldiers were conducting a marksmanship practice in 2004.

In 2004, Sardiya Abu Calderon, 54-year old died due to heart attack when a helicopter boarding two US soldiers landed into their farm during the clearing operation conducted by the US troops and Filipino soldiers in August 2004 and in September 2006 where shrapnel of a misfired bomb hit the back of a 50-year old mother Bizma Juhan in Indanan, Sulu.

In Zamboanga City , passengers of a tricycle complained in a radio station about US soldiers who accidentally bumped the tricycle they were riding in Calarian village on December 15, 2007. Instead of helping the victims to get up, US soldiers got down from their vehicle complete with high-powered guns that according to the complainants looked like they were going to war.

On 04 February 2008, one of the survivors of the Maimbung, Sulu massacre Rawina Wahid exposed that when the soldiers brought her and her bodys husband Corporal Ibno Wahid to a Philippine Navy boat she saw four (4) US soldiers among the Filipino soldiers inside the boat.

Presence of US troops does not deter to prevent terrorist threat in the country instead, attracts terrorism. US operations in Mindanao can be considered as clandestine act of terrorism. Through lies and deception, US maintained a low profile role in painting chaos in the island to justify its presence.

Kawagib fear the vulnerability of the Moro civilians in areas where Balikatans are held. Previous statements made by US officials on having the right to carry guns and fire at people whom they think will compromise their security absolves them of these crimes.

Kawagib joined protests against balikatan exercises with Liga ng Kabataang Moro (LKM), Suara Bangsamoro and other progressive organizations calling for immediate pull-out of US troops from the Philippines this morning February 18, 2008 in Cagayan de Oro City, North Cotabato, Cotabato City and Davao City .

The Moro groups are calling for an investigation on cases of human rights violations committed by US troops in Mindanao and justice must serve to the victims .



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