RANAW CRESCENT AGAINST BALIKATAN EXCERCISES (RACABE)
Marawi City c/o Ahmad Lao, Local Monitoring Team – MILF 09195513320
We, the concerned leaders representing the different sectors of the Meranaw Bangsamoro Society, vehemently manifest our opposition to the upcoming RP-US joint military activities dubbed as Baliktan Training Exercises to be held in the Ranaw areas starting February 18, 2008 on the following grounds:
1. The U.S government is responsible for the contemporary sufferings of the Bangsamoro people under the tyranny of the Philippine neo-colonialism when it granted independence to the Filipinos on July 04, 1946 and at the same time allowed the illegal annexation of the Bangsamoro Homeland to the Philippine territory notwithstanding the protests of the Bangsamoro people as expressed in a number of documents such as letters, declarations and the like. As a consequence, the birthright of the Bangsamoro people for freedom and independence was immorally usurped resulting to the centuries-old Bangsamoro in Mindanao.
2. The RP-US Balikatan Exercises is essentially a component of the US Global War on terror, a war that is premised on blatant lies and deception presented to the American people and the whole world by no less than President George W. Bush himself of which the real motive is foreign military occupation and economic exploitation such as what happened, and is still happening , in Iraq, a Muslim country that was invaded and occupied the false pretext of the presence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that was to proven untrue.
3. The US War on Terror is being utilized by the Philippine government to modernize its military hardware and has caused the destruction of Muslim places, death of innocent people who were caught in the crossfire and incarceration of Muslim civilians for being mistakenly apprehended as “terrorists”. The US global war on terror is in its true sense a hostile act against Islam and Muslims. The people’s mind-set has been conditioned through media type that terrorism is an ideology of the Muslim freedom fighters.
4. The US presence in the Bangsamoro Homeland is essentially to maintain its military presence in the Far East to monitor and prevent possible threat and pre-empt attack to the US mainland. The Bangsamoro areas may be used as military command base or launching pad for US military attacks against any countries hostile to US interests. Consequently, the Bangsamorp Homeland will become a potential target of military reprisals against the US.
5. The US continued stay in Ranaw may bring social ills. They will surely disregard the cultural sensitivity of the local populace such as what happened in much-publicized Nicole rape case in Luzon.
6. The US imperialistic design in the Bangsamoro Homeland is far from over after they left; they might exploit all resources that may be discovered in the Bangsamoro areas. They will be occupying strategic places with rich natural resources in the Bangsamoro Homeland. With all their advance technologies, they can siphon off in a few moments our natural wealth. Hence, the Bangsamoro people are wary that they will be deprived of their God-endowed natural resources.
7. Lastly, the presence of US troops in Ranaw will be a serious threat to the on-going peace process in Mindanao since the US troops may also help organize counterinsurgency groups to contain the progressive revolutionary movement of the Bangsamoro Mujahideen. On one hand, it will awaken painful memories of the past American invasions of the Ranaw areas such as the massacres in Padang Karbala, Bayang, Lanao del Sur that almost wiped out all able-bodied men in the said municipality except for seven who are either minors or infirm, in Tugaya, Lanao del Sur, and Pantar, Lanao del Norte, that may trigger violent retaliatory actions against US troops. On the other hand, spoilers of peace can exploit the presence of US troops to sabotage the on-going peace process.
By the foregoing reasons, we believed that any move of any individual or groups with vested interests that will help the realization of the proposed RP-US joint military exercises in the Ranaw areas is considered as betrayal of the Bangsamor nation especially the Meranaw people and must be condemned to the strongest terms possible.
Finally, we appeal to the us government in the name of heavenly relations and the brotherhood of Humanity, if indeed you are champions of peace, justice, and democracy, to respect the sovereign will of the Bangsamoro people, particularly the Meranaws by refraining from taking part in this military exercises in order to avoid igniting remorseful feelings of historical origin.
In the same vein, we demand from the Philippine government to show its genuine sincerity and strong commitment to peace in Mindanao by stopping this unwelcome RP-US Balikatan exercises.
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip on Feb 12th 2008