By JEOFFREY MHAR LARUA
MANILA — ‘Lakbayanis’ from north to south trooped to the United States (US) Embassy, Friday, September 15 to slam the US-led war on terror against Muslims, and its intervention in the country’s military and political affairs.
The Moro delegation-led mobilization came during the 26th year occasion of the Philippines’ removal of US Military Bases in the country, and the 114th day of Martial Law in Mindanao.
US hand still apparent
In a program, Sandugo co-chairperson Jerome Succor Aba said that even if US military bases have been removed from the country, there is renewed presence especially with the US’ meddling in the crisis of Marawi.
“Under the auspices of EDCA and VFA in addition to Duterte’s Martial Law, it is clear once again that the US has its hands on our military affairs and is ready to trample on our lands,” said Aba in Filipino, who is also a Moro.
Aba also said that the US brought on the crisis in Marawi by its creation of war machineries “capitalizing on Islamic ideals”, including the ISIS and the Maute group, for profit and the exploitation of sovereign nations.
Sandugo, an alliance of Moro and indigenous peoples, have called for the removal of US troops in the country, as their presence is a manifestation of imperialist plunder in national minorities’ ancestral lands.
‘Hands off Marawi!’
Meanwhile, for Tindeg Ranao spokesperson Aida Ibrahim, the obvious US intervention in the Marawi crisis only means displacement for the largely Meranao population residing in the city.
“We are scared because there are more intensified attacks where there are US troops operating. We cannot go back to our homes,” said Ibrahim, a Marawi resident.
“How can we go back to our homes when there are bombings and rampant shelling? How can Mocha [Uson] enter our city [Marawi], when us Meranaos, who thrived by the shores of Lake Ranao, can’t?” added Ibrahim.
Mocha Uson, in yet another controversial post, posted a video on September 11 showing her and military troops inside a mosque in the city without a hijab.
More violence against women, children
Gabriela’s Joms Salvador, meanwhile, said that with the vestiges of US military power remaining in the country, more women, LGBTs, and children are threatened with abuses committed by American troops.
Salvador cited numerous cases of sexual abuse committed by US troops post-military bases brought about by the VFA and the EDCA, including the Subic rape case in 2004 and Jennifer Laude’s murder in 2013. # nordis.net