May 31, 2009 in Baguio City
By Paula PAMINTUAN-RIVA
BAGUIO CITY — Members of the militant youth organization Anakbayan gathered at the Peoples’ Park and held a cultural jam on May 2, 2009 to echo the 10-year call against the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
Singing and playing instruments under a banner declaring “10 years is enough!” youth and students expressed their dismay at the government’s continuing slavery to the United States that is manifest in its eagerness to expose the country’s resources to foreign exploitation.
“The VFA is a prime example of the one-sided relations between the United States and the Philippines,” Anakbayan Cordillera Chairperson Sloan Ramos said during the cultural jam.
“Whereas, our government considers the document (VFA) as a treaty that allows American troops to freely stay in our land, the U.S. government deems it otherwise. We remain powerless at the crimes committed by American soldiers here, as they are quickly and efficiently whisked away to their embassy even if they have already been judged guilty by the Philippine courts,” he said.
Ramos further stated that the VFA remains the loophole; allowing foreign troops to maintain their military bases in the country at a time of our supposed independence. He asserts that these military bases makes the Philippines more vulnerable to attacks from the enemies of the USA than attacks by actual enemies of the country.
“We can never discount how this agreement has already affected our countrymen,” he said.
“Resources are closed off to the members of a community because of foreign military presence. There are more extreme cases in which Filipinos are not allowed to come near the fishing areas occupied by foreign vessels, thereby paralyzing their livelihood. Here in Baguio, Camp John Hay remains a private-owned entity that has historically been snatched from its Ibaloi owners.”
Anakbayan urged other youth and students to step forward and answer the challenge of defending our land and natural resources against foreign exploitation and domination. They declared that, as always, they shall be at the forefront of this fight, but the true solution lies in the unity of the people against this iniquity. # nordis.net