Friday, December 10, 2004

NR1209: No to US troops in relief operations

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release December 9 , 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362

Rep. Beltran denounces participation of US troops in relief operations; says
deployment unjustified and masks military agenda violative of the Constitution
and human rights

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today expressed outrage over reports
that there are US troops being deployed in the country to supposedly assist in
the relief operations in Central Luzon. Some 500 US soldiers are reportedly
scheduled to arrive in the next few days in Clark, Subic to help in the
government's relief measures.

"They have no business assisting in these operations. The motives of the US
military authorities when participating in such operations in countries the US
government has political and economic interests in are never altruistic or
humanitarian. The agenda is primarily military in nature, and in this case,
they're assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in
counter-insurgency operations that inevitably victimize civilians and violate
civil, democratic and human rights," he said.

He said that even the participation of the AFP in relief measures is already
questionable. "These relief operations are civilian-led activities. The
involvement of the AFP in relief operations is part of the AFP's civilian
monitoring campaign which means more human rights violations and abuses."

Beltran reiterated that the presence of US troops in the country was in
violation of the Constitution's provisions on internal security and national
sovereignty. "But the Macapagal-Arroyo administration insists on violating
these provisions with impunity, and disregarding the impact on human rights in
the provinces and regions where the US troops are deployed alongside the AFP,"
he said.

"No doubt, our Kababayans are in serious need of economic assistance and
emergency relief, but it's hardly necessary to have US troops lined up
distributing bags of rice and groceries. The reasons behind this faux show of
altruism and supposed humanitarian internationalism are insidious, and they
have serious implications on national security and sovereignty," he added.

Finally, Beltran said that the findings of church-based organizations in
Mindanao led by the alliance InPeace should be investigated. These findings
indicate that there US troops are perpetrating many human rights violations in

"The activities and operations of US troops in the country go largely
unchecked. There is an immediate need to establish a system of monitoring these
activities, even as patriotic forces and nationalist organizations demand the
expulsion of US troops from the country. Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has not
made any explanation neither has the AFP or the Defense Department regarding
the violations the US troops have perpetrated against Filipinos in Mindanao and
other areas where the troops are deployed, " he said.#


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