Filipinos slam defense guidelines with U.S. violating national sovereignty

(Xinhua) 11:11, May 06, 2023

MANILA, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Filipino politicians and scholars said the recently released defense guidelines between the United States and the Philippines violate the latter's national sovereignty, escalating regional tensions, and called for an end to the defense treaties with the United States.

Former Congresswoman Liza Maza said in a forum on Thursday that the guidelines "unduly and dangerously" opened up Philippine national strategies, defense plans, budgets, intelligence gatherings, and other matters to the United States.

U.S. claims of friendship with the Philippines are "nonsense," said Maza, adding that "the Americans are here solely and mainly to advance their geopolitics, military and economic interests."

On Wednesday, Washington and Manila released a six-page "bilateral defense guidelines" after Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos met his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, at the White House.

Ronnel Arambulo, a spokesperson of a fisherfolk organization, accused the recent joint military drills by the two sides of affecting local fishermen's livelihood and damaging the marine ecological environment.

Arambulo said the government bans dynamite fishing to preserve the ecology of marine life, but the live fire drills destroy nature and harm the livelihood of fishing communities.

Roland Simbulan, a geopolitics expert and professor at the University of the Philippines, believes the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement bases and other military maneuvers of the United States in the Southeast Asian country will drag his country into conflicts.

The U.S. island-chain defense strategy in East Asia "is very provocative," Simbulan said, blaming the U.S. foreign policy of being "a war of aggression, conflicts, and intervention" through funding wars and 800 overseas military bases.

He warned that U.S. military facilities in the Philippines will make the country a "sitting duck" and a direct target of potential conflicts.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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