Posted by: kawagib | August 28, 2009

Kawagib supports statement of Lt. Gadian; calls to junk VFA

Cotabato City – Kawagib- Alliance for the Advancement of Moro Human Rights here urge the Arroyo government to junk Visiting Forces Agreement and pull-out US troops who are permanently stationed in Mindanao and other parts of the country in the guise of Balikatan exercises.

According to Bai Ali Indayla, spokesperson of the group, US troops have committed various human rights violations and it became legal because of this unequal agreement. VFA has also clearly violated national sovereignty and territorial integrity, it was manifested by policies of the US that Filipino soldiers even officials are not allowed to enter the structures and facilities of the US troops unless invited by them.   The government seemed to be inutile when it gave too much freedom for the foreign troops that it cannot punish an American soldier that violated rights of its people it ought to protect under the Philippine constitution.

Kawagib believes that statement of retired Navy Lt. Nancy Gadian that US troops are “embedded” with Filipino soldiers in combat situation in Mindanao and permanently stationed in the country is true. In a testimony of Sandrawina Wahid, wife of Cpl. Ibno Wahid, one of the 8 victims who died in a Massacre in Maimbung, Sulu last February 04, 2008, she saw 4 US Troops aboard a naval boat used by elements of US trained-Light Reaction Company who are responsible for the massacre. She was taken along with them and brought to a military camp. A moro peasant Buyong-buyong Isnijal was also shot  by Sgt. Reggie Lane while Filipino and US troops conduct military operation. Another victim is 52 year old Bizma Juhan who suffered wounds from shrapnel of M203 bomb which was accidentally shot out of range by a US soldier who was training Filipino troops in Indanan, Sulu. She was made to sign a waver by the US soldiers.

“Despite US troops’ commission of human rights violations to innocent civilians and filed charges against them, not even one of them was held accountable and the truth hurts that the government cannot protect us and just let the perpetrators, foreign troops at that, enjoy freedom and we are made victims in our own land”, Indayla added.

“If we are to weigh the gain and loss from VFA, we have only gained tyranny from  a colonizer while we loss our sovereignty as a nation. Everything they gave us is nothing but debts and “sugar coated bullets” which have killed civilians. The US is only interested in the wealth of the country and plans to make Philippines its military base in colonizing the entire Asia Pacific”, Indayla said.

Even Senator and Chairperson of the Legislative Oversight Committee on the VFA Miriam Santiago said she is convinced that US troops are joining combat operations base on reports she received.

Lastly, Indayla said “the call of the Filipino people to junk VFA and held accountable the American soldiers for violating human rights and our constitution is legitimate. The Arroyo government should be pressured for it to take action otherwise, the moves to oust her will  continue and storm her  administration. It is the only way that justice be given to the victims of human rights violations”.

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