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US activists join De Oro protests vs Edca

/ 12:04 AM July 30, 2016
ANTI-EDCA protesters take to the streets of Cagayan de Oro City, near the Lumbia Airfield, one of the sites identified as a temporary US base. JIGGER JERUSALEM/INQUIRER MINDANAO

ANTI-EDCA protesters take to the streets of Cagayan de Oro City, near the Lumbia Airfield, one of the sites identified as a temporary US base. JIGGER JERUSALEM/INQUIRER MINDANAO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Several American activists on Friday joined Filipino protesters in demanding the scrapping of an agreement between the Philippine and US governments that allows US ships to routinely dock in Philippine ports and US soldiers to set up bases for training and military exercises.

The groups said the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca), which the Supreme Court ruled as constitutional in a recent decision, is being used as a tool to indiscriminately tag Moros as terrorists.

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Lawyer Arturo Viscarra, national coordinator for School of America watch and based in Washington, said the US government is using several ploys to justify the presence of its military force in the Philippines and elsewhere.

Viscarra said the US government agenda was really “economic domination.” “They are militarizing the entire world,” he said at a forum here on Friday.

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Luke Patterson, a New York City based social worker, said the presence of Philippine soldiers in civilian areas “is an international war crime” that violates International Humanitarian Law.

“The US government is still using its failed policies in the Middle East in Mindanao,” said Berna Ellorin, a member of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in the United States.

The US government, she said, is using the war on terror to fan internal conflicts in the Philippines and embed US soldiers in civilian communities.

Edca allows US forces access to five key military installations in the Philippines, including the Lumbia Airfield in the village of Lumbia here.

US-BASED activist and lawyer Arturo Viscarra talks during an anti-Edca forum in Cagayan de Oro City.     JIGGER JERUSALEM/INQUIRER MINDANAO

US-BASED activist and lawyer Arturo Viscarra talks during an anti-Edca forum in Cagayan de Oro City. JIGGER JERUSALEM/INQUIRER MINDANAO

Mariquita Abella, a resident of Lumbia, said she is opposing Edca because of there is a civilian population in Lumbia that could be affected by military exercises.

Patriotiko Northern Mindanao, an alliance of groups from different sectors, said Edca was one of the clearest signs of US intervention in Philippine foreign and domestic policies.

The group said the timing of the release of the Supreme Court ruling on Edca betrays its character as a gift to the United States. The high court decision came as US Secretary of State John Kerry prepared to visit the Philippines.

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US military presence in the Philippines, the group said, will just serve as a magnet for hostile action from countries that are against the United States. Jigger Jerusalem, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Cagayan de Oro City, EDCA, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, news, PH activists, Philippines, Protests, Regions, US
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