At least 300 members of the militant Courage Partylist, a sectoral party of government employees, families and advocates, held a protest rally today along Elliptical Road in Quezon City to register their strong opposition to the retention of the presence of US troops within Philippine territory.
“These foreign troops have been deployed here in our country since 2002 years after the Filipino people have long decided to throw out the US. bases and the Arroyo government has condoned their unconstitutional presence. This is a blatant act of treason against the Filipino people,” said Courage Partylist national president Ferdinand Gaite.
Courage Partylist also expressed its disgust over Malacañang’s statement that the US troops based in the South have significantly contributed to the annihilation of the terrorist groups in Mindanao. “Seven long years have already passed since they started their operations in Mindanao but until now we do not see any sign that the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) will be totally eliminated soon. The humanitarian work the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines claimed can never be used as an excuse for their prolonged, unwelcomed stay. We are also appalled with the US government’s admission that 20 percent of their work is combat-related. Civilian casualties and rights violations during their military exercises are inevitable and the Arroyo administration does not have the backbone to prosecute US soldiers even if all evidences are clearly established against them,” stated Gaite.
The group cited the Constitution and Republic Act No. 7613 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, which state that it is incumbent to all public officials and employees to serve the people with utmost responsibility and loyalty, and to act with patriotism at all times. “Mrs. Arroyo’s approval of the continued presence of the US troops in the Philippines is a brazen violation of the Constitution that is an impeachable offense,” said Gaite.
Courage Partylist vowed to intensify their campaign for the immediate removal of the US troops and stand up against any threat to our patrimony and sovereignty. The platform of governance of the militant partylist includes respect for national sovereignty. “We shall also work for the adoption of an independent foreign policy as part of our legislative agenda,” he explained. #