The statement below was released by the Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM), a Filipino socialist group, on July 1.
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The PLM condemns any moves to pave the way for the return of US military base facilities in the Philippines. This includes giving the US access to Philippine military bases and facilities at Clark and Subic, as Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin has admitted has occured.
“The new senate hasn’t even convened as yet and this has already been put on the agenda,” said PLM chairperson Sonny Melencio. “It confirms the view that President [Benigno] Aquino did everything possible to ensure a Liberal Party majority in the senate, because this is his first agenda.”
“Aquino will undo the historic 1991 victory of the Filipino people, when the senate then voted against the US bases, during his mother’s [Corazon Aquino] administration. Reestablishing the US bases in the guise of ‘access’ could end up being the shameful legacy of this administration.
“The Aquino government has embraced the US strategic shift of focussing its military might in Asia. It also seems to have embraced the US anti-China policy.
“While we are opposed to China’s bullying tactics in the region, especially in relation to the West Philippines or South China Sea, it seems like Gazmin is champing at the bit to go to war with China.
“We consider the defense secretary’s statements and actions to be irresponsible. They endanger our nation and our people. We have no confidence that a warmongering defence secretary will serve the sovereign interests of the country.
“We therefore call for the resignation of Gazmin. We call on the Aquino administration to appoint a person who is genuinely committed to the peaceful resolution of the regional disputes with China and who will do their utmost to pursue such a goal.
“We also welcome the initiative taken by the Bayan Muna congress representative Neri Colmenares, in filing House Resolution No 08, calling for the scrapping of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement and the plans to give temporary access to Philippine military bases to American forces. We will campaign in support of this bill.”