Condom distribution to US troops in Palawan assailed

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The militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) has assailed the US government for distributing condoms to American troops taking part in the 17th Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (Carat) joint naval exercises in Palawan.

Renato Reyes Jr., Bayan secretary general, on Monday took exception to reports the US was giving away free condoms to its military personnel if they wish to engage in “adult activities” in the province located east of the West Philippine Sea that is a popular tourist destination.

“Such was admitted by a spokesperson of the US Navy,” Reyes pointed out.

About 800 US troops—along with the same number of Philippine Navy personnel—are taking part in Carat.

On Sunday, GMA News reported that US Navy personnel had been given free condoms for “responsible adult activities.”

“If people decide to engage in adult relationships, then we want them to do that in a safe and responsible manner,” Lt. Cmdr. Mike Morley, US Navy spokesperson said in an interview on “Balitanghali.”

In a statement, Reyes noted that “American troops engage in war games and engage in so-called rest and recreation on our shores. This is exactly the type of activity that violates our national dignity. This is one of the reasons the US bases then were such an abomination.”

“This is why the Subic rape case happened in November 2005. Now it’s as if the Subic rape never happened and US troops are at it again,” Reyes said.

On the occasion of Filipino-American Friendship Day yesterday, Reyes called on the Aquino administration to “end all unequal relations with Washington.”

He asserted that “there is really no reason to celebrate Fil-Am Friendship Day given our historical relations with the US.”

“As we extend our friendship and solidarity to the American people, we continue to oppose the unequal and exploitative relations being imposed on the Filipino people by the US government. The so-called friendship being offered by US imperialism has not benefited us over the past decades. It’s time to “unfriend” the imperialists and move for relations based on equality and mutuality,” Reyes said.

Earlier, Bayan denounced what it said was the “detrimental and unequal character” of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), concluded on May 27, 1999, eight years after the American bases were shut in the country.

But Malacañang has stated that it is “generally happy” with the VFA, while the US embassy has declared that the treaty has been “working very well” for both countries.

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