FOR OUR NATION’S SURVIVAL, LET’S GIVE PEACE A CHANCE
We, who are from professional, civic, multi-sectoral and sectoral NGOs and people’s organizaions, call on our leaders, particularly President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to stop behaving like junior warmongers as they piggy-back on the sabre-rattling moves of the United States and its Western allies.
While we vehemently condemn in the strongest terms the murderous atrocity committed against the people of the United States last September 11, 2001, we believe that attacking and raining bombs on a poor country like Afghanistan in retaliation will only lead to a world war. Already, U.S. and British military strikes, which have killed countless people in Afghanistan, have ignited protests and clashes in various parts of the world due to traditional Christian-Muslim tensions. They have placed the world in a very dangerous mode.
The Philippines, while it condemns terrorism, also renounces war in its Constitution as an instrument of its national policy. We should not be an accomplice to the wars waged by superpowers like the United States who are in a better position to absorb the consequences of their past and present misdemeanors in the Middle East. The national defense and security of our people when called for, are defensive in nature, and do not include our participation or being accomplices to aggressive bombings and attacks against other countries that result in loss of lives and property of civilians.
The so-called “14 pillars” of Philippine involvement in the anti-terrorist crusade of U.S. President Bush will only invite attacks by enemies of the United States against our country. The re-use of Clark and Subic for U.S. military activities and operations will only set back the bases conversion program which has been put in place. More U.S. military advisers, in addition to the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group (JUSMAG), will only increase the ongoing U.S. intervention in Philippine internal affairs. And, when did the sending of Filipino troops against another country and government constitute the “national defense” and security of the Philippines? Some Filipino officials argue that this will improve our military’s capability and equipment–as an efficient killing machine?
Our limited resources are better used to resolve our INTERNAL problems. Resolving our domestic problems related to the Abu Sayyaf would in fact be our best contribution to this international problem called “terrorism”. But, we are alarmed by the implications and consequences of these “14 pillars” to which we have committed ourselves as a war accomplice:
First, human rights are being disregarded against the Muslim populations in Mindanao and Metro Manila as this so-called campaign against terrorism is only creating enmity and tensions in our national goal of Christian-Muslim understanding. The “anti-terrorist” hysteria has resurrected the unpopular proposals in our country such as the national ID system, the so-called anti-terrorism bill, among other things.
Second, our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) may face reprisals in countries in the Middle East because of our role in being a “staging area for U.S. military operations” against Arab countries. The current state of the economy cannot absorb the returning, displaced OFWs should there be war in the Middle East.
Third, the women and children around Clark and Subic and other staging grounds in the Philippines will once again be exploited and prostituted by the “rest and recreation ” industry spawned by full restoration of U.S. military activities and operations in the Philippines.
Fourth, the entire Philippines will now continue to be one whole contaminated territory with the return of U.S. military forces. The U.S. government, up to now refuses to even acknowledge the toxic contamination and poisoning that was committed in the former U.S. military bases. This toxic contamination in and around the former U.S. bases has resulted in the illness and death of many Filipinos, especially children.
Fifth, just when the U.S. bases were the first to be targeted by the Japanese forces in World War II, so will these US forces in transit and using Clark and Subic as a “staging area” for military operations be likely subjected to the same fate. If the United States could not prevent the Sept. 11 attacks on its own soil, could we secure ourselves against retaliatory attacks by enemies of the United States?
Finally, the Philippines’ involvement in a war at this time will only worsen our impoverished economy that has long been hitting hard the poorest sections of our population. How much further should we allow our people’s impoverishment to sink?
The use of Philippine territory –as a staging, replenishment, training, and repair grounds as well as “rest and recreation” –transforms the whole country into a DE-FACTO MILITARY BASE for the U.S. global war machine. This is while our leaders conveniently ignore our anti-militarist Constitution.
We seek world peace and national recovery from our own domestic problems, which we must urgently confront. But first, we must SURVIVE!
Wigbert E. Tanada, President, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)
Nini Quezon-Avancena, Concerned Women of the Phils.
Cookie Diokno, Free Legal Assistance Group
Roland Simbulan, Nuclear Free Philippines Coalition
Corazon Fabros, Justice not War Coalition
Teddy Casino, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan
Sr. MARY PilarVersoza, Pro-Life Movement
Roberto Verzola, Philippine Greens
Sonny Melencio, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino
Rasti Delizo, Sanlakas
Jojo Pineda, League of Concerned Professionals
Olala Anne Olib, People’s Task Force on Bases Cleanup
Aurora Parong, Task Force Detainees of the Phils.
Jimmy Domalaon, Pandayan
Tony Paris, Philippine Peace and Solidarity Council
Dante Simbulan, Jr., Cavite Greens Coalition
Amy Aricon,Central Luzon Alliance for Nuclear Free/War Free Subic and Clark
Ted Te, Free Legal Assistance Group-NCR
Ethel Caasi, BWF-Balik Kalikasan
Wilson Fortaleza, Partido ng Manggagawa
Ed Legaspi, National Peace Conference
Rene Ofreneo, KATAPAT
Fr. Robert Reyes, GOMBURZA
Merci Ferrer, Initiatives for International Dialogue
Diza Velasco, Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP)
Jimmy Regalario, KATAPAT
Sr. Vincent Borromeo, Alay Kapwa
Sonia P. Sotto KAISAKA/Kilusan Para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD)
Karen Tanada, Coalition for Peace/GZO Peace Institute
GFP Secretariat, PRRM Building,
56 Mother Ignacia St., Quezon City
Call Lenard, Ember, Divine
Tel. 372-4989 or 372-4991
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 in 2002