U.S. Troops Out Now Mindanao Coalition
March 26, 2008
US warship not welcome
The arrival of the USS Vandergrift warship in Cagayan de Oro for purportedly goodwill activities in the city is questionable as it is unwelcome. It comes only a month after the people of Mindanao waged widespread protests against the Balikatan exercises.
The US Navy ship’s arrival has surprised the people in Cagayan de Oro. It is also sinister that prior to arriving in Cagayan, the Vandergrift visited General Santos City’s Makar Wharf last March 11 to 12, according to the government website of the said city.
How the the USS Vandergrift is freely entering ports in Mindanao is suspect. Whether this is part of the areas covered in the terms of reference in Balikatan 08, the Philippine government must answer.
The USS Vandegrift, by any means, is not on a goodwill mission. It is a guided-missile frigate that is the flagship of the commander of the Seventh Fleet. It had played crucial logistics support for the US military in wars in the Persian Gulf. It is the first US military ship that docked in Vietnam 30 years since the defeat of American forces in the Vietnam War. Its critical role in the political and military agenda of the US in the Philippines can not therefore be underestimated.
This so-called goodwill visit cannot erase from our minds the recent report of a Filipina OFW raped by a US serviceman in Okinawa, Japan last February 18 (as the Balikatan exercises commenced in Mindanao). American forces have not shown goodwill in many parts of the globe, surely we can not expect the same in Mindanao. For that we cannot simply allow US war vessels and troops to come in freely and roam our cities, now do we simply surrender our sovereignty.
Vandegrift’s message is unmistakeable: the US brings its humanitarian and goodwill intentions at the tip of the barrel of the cannon.
Atty. Beverly Selim-Musni
Convenor, Out Now! Mindanao
Mobile # 0920-920-0522
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 Mar 5th 2008