US strengthening its theatre of war in Asia while Duterte willingly accedes PH sovereignty to imperialist exploits - Karapatan

“Duterte and Trump’s stars seem to be aligning, as both reaffirmed US-PH relations in a bilateral meeting yesterday, November 13. We are no doubt being dragged into US interventionist wars across the globe, our soil used as grounds for military exercises, and the Filipino people rendered more exposed to different forms of rights violations. This affirmation of US-PH relations has made one thing clear: Duterte has placed the welfare of the majority of Filipinos at the backseat. As expected, human rights and people’s rights are non-issues for both tyrants,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the recent bilateral meeting between Duterte and Trump.

Duterte also thanked Trump for the ‘victory’ in Marawi City, despite the city being pulverized to the ground and close to half a million evacuees still recovering from months of aerial bombardment. The Light Reaction Regiment in Marawi, a special military unit trained by the US, was also deployed in Marawi. “This means that the US is similarly responsible for the deaths and destruction in Marawi. Now, despite declarations of victory, the government is now proliferating ideas of Moro extremists still in other areas in Mindanao. Like the good pet that he is, Duterte is now echoing the tactic of warmongerer Duterte Trump, injecting fear into people’s minds to further justify its so-called war on terror,” Palabay added.

Palabay underscored that ‘it was never the US’s intention to end wars, evidenced by its continued militarist policies and the huge profits raked from its export and trade of weapons all over the world. The war economy benefits the US, with 42 American companies dominating the manufacture and trade of weapons, equipment, vehicles, intelligence technology and all other resources for military operations, with revenue amounting to at least $536 million last 2016. Trump manufactures fear and provokes wars because for imperialists, war means profit at the expense of people,” she said.

Meanwhile, Karapatan said that US policies adapted in the country have continued to be instrumental in the continued and intensifying opression and repression of Filipinos. Palabay explained that ‘neoliberal policies, for example, have paved the way for the demolition of homes in lieu of malls and other infrastructure projects, alongside smaller and smaller allocation for social services. On the other hand, US-driven counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan remains the guiding framework of the AFP in its operations. This has led to numerous political killings, aerial bombings in communities, and illegal arrests and detention.”

In a statement by political prisoners from Camp Bagong Diwa, they expressed solidarity with organizations protesting Trump’s visit, adding that “repressive governments will inevitably have political prisoners. In the Philippines, Duterte has arrested 94 additional political prisoners on the basis of trumped-up charges. Political detainees whose work have been criminalized suffer twice because of inhuman prison conditions and the slow justice system in the country.”

“No doubt that our continued subservience to imperialist exploits will result in more human rights violations. The upcoming years of the Duterte regime is equivalent to years of puppetry. The waves of protests are thus justified and necessary, to show the Filipino people’s condemnation of another US puppet who does not have the gall to stand up for the country’s sovereignty and future. We clearly have a President with a strongman facet who perpetually bullies the poor, but loses his fangs in the face of imperialists – in other words, a President from the same breed of spineless traditional politicians,” Palabay concluded.