STOP THE WAR COALITION
28 August 2007
US Military Bases in Mindanao Unconstitutional, Dangerous
In light of the US embassy’s own categorical admission about its presence in the South, we at the Stop the War Coalition, a broad coalition of people’s organizations, NGOs, social movements, women’s, students’, religious, youth and other organizations, call for an immediate independent investigation as to the constitutionality of allowing the establishment of US bases in Mindanao.
The US embassy admitted Monday that the US military is building allegedly “temporary” structures and facilities ostensibly for “medical, logistical and administrative services” for US soldiers “to eat, sleep, and work” in Zamboanga and Jolo. The Visiting Forces Commission also admitted last week that the US soldiers have constructed “living quarters” and have stored “supplies” in their camps.
Decrying the Americans’ apparent attempt to define the word “base” to their advantage, Stop the War Coalition believes that what the US has in Mindanao are US military bases. The coalition pointed out that US troops themselves refer to their bases as “forward operating base” and “advance operating base,” as clearly documented in US military publications.
Noting that the unit that has used these bases, the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines, has been stationed in Mindanao non- stop since 2002 and that the Philippine government has not given an exit date for this unit, the Coalition also believes that the bases are not “temporary.”
The fact that, by their own admission, they are staying “as long as necessary” and that they are spending $14.4 million in only six months means that they intend to stay for a long time.
Stop the War Coalition believes that, for these reasons, the establishment of US military bases in the country violates the 1987 Constitution. It pointed to Article XVIII Section 25 which clearly states: “Foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty …”. The Visiting Forces Agreement, which exempt US troops from Philippine laws, cannot be construed as the treaty which allows for this exemption.
Because of the ongoing war in Mindanao, Stop the War Coalition believes that US basing in the country and its involvement in the war will complicate the situation and move us away from peaceful and just solutions to the problems.
Stop the War Coalition believes that neither the US nor the Philippine government has the incentive to tell the truth about the US bases in Mindanao.
We therefore call on all Filipinos to oppose these bases, call for their abolition, and demand the withdrawal of US troops from the country.
We call on other organizations, social movements, and coalitions to speak out loud and clear against the bases through public statements, media events, and demonstrations.
We call on decent patriotic lawyers to question the existence of US bases in the South before the Supreme Court.
We call on our elected legislators to call for an independent investigation into the issue, demand that they be given access to inspect the bases, and to summon US and Filipino officials to explain.
We call for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement. We demand an immediate end to the war in Mindanao and an end to US intervention in the war.
STOP THE WAR IN MINDANAO! NO TO U.S. MILITARY BASES!
PULL-OUT U.S. TROOPS NOW!
Visit the International Network for the
Abolition of Foreign Military Bases:
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 Sept. 17th 2007