The continuous presence of US troops not only violates our sovereignty and Constitution — it keeps the country under the ambit of Imperial America. Not only does it make the country vulnerable to attack from America’s enemies, it makes the Filipino people vulnerable to attacks from US troops, such as what happened in the cases cited above.
Their presence has also made the AFP more brutal and aggressive. It is no coincidence that a war is raging in Mindanao not only in Moro areas but in areas suspected by the AFP of being under the influence of the New People’s Army as well, as in parts of the Caraga region and Compostela Valley.
US Special Forces units are not here to protect our interests, they are here to project American military hegemony, protect US economic interests, and to be able to launch wars of aggression swiftly.
Southeast Asia is strategic to the US because of its location and its resources. And the Philippines is — to quote a 1989 report by RAND corporation, a US military think tank — “the optimal location from which to maintain and support a presence in Southeast Asia.”
To the north of the region is Korea, China, and Japan. The US has been in a constant state of war footing against North Korea since after World War II. China is considered a major political and military rival to the US. Thus, the region is an important transit point for US troops if war breaks out in Korea or China. Second, it may be used as launching site for US “mobile expeditionary operations” not only in the southeast but also in other parts of Asia and the Middle East.
To the east is the Indian sub-continent and the oil-rich Middle East. To the south is Australia, another major US ally. The sea lanes of the region are critical to the movement of US forces from the Western Pacific to the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.
A high proportion of the trade of Japan, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, and Australia passes through the straits of Malacca, Sumba, or Lomboc or the straits of East Timor, near the southern Philippines.
The Philippines serves as a gateway to Southeast Asia. It is strategically located between two major US bases: Guam in the Pacific and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The country is well within the center of the South China sea, ideal for supporting US Air Force combat operations in the East Asian region. It has harbors ideal for ship repair, naval supply operations, storage of munitions of naval ships undergoing repairs, aircraft surveillance operations, and naval air logistics.
Aside from its geopolitical importance, Southeast Asia is home to 500 million people and a wealth of natural resources. Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation and the biggest Muslim country.
From 1993-97, the region was second only to Japan in terms of US exports to the Pacific rim. It is also an important destination for US investments, surpassing Japan and Brazil by 1997.
The region is also a source of natural gas and oil. The largest deposits of oil and gas in Asia could lie in the region. Gas and oil exploration activities are in full swing.
The Philippines is a major trading partner and investment destination of the US. It is estimated to have 106.8 billion cubic meters of proven natural gas reserves and 152 million bbl of oil reserves. The Malampaya offshore field, the largest natural gas development in Philippine history, was discovered off Palawan by Shell Philippines Exploration. Many other oil and gas corporations have investments in the country. And Mindanao is one of the areas where oil reserves are probably located, being near Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia, which are oil exporting countries.