Farmers Hold Caravan Protest Against PH-US Balikatan Exercises in Central Luzon

“It is not only regarding the issue of land reform that we discover how demented Noynoy is, he himself is literally letting his hair down when it comes to following the beat of his puppet-master – US imperialism,” Danilo Ramos, KMP secretary general, says as he prods the various contingents of militant and progressive organizations in the People’s Caravan Against the PH-US Balikatan Exercises.

Mercenary AFP, US troops

For his part, KMP secretary-general Danilo Ramos said the continued military exercises and his seeming bent to continue the economic and political policies of his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo exposes President Aquino’s determination to also, like Arroyo, be a loyal servant to foreign dictates.

“Whatever happened to Aquino’s campaign promise when he said that his administration will review the VFA? Where is the ‘straight road’ or ‘daang matuwid’ he said he will lead the Philippines to? He is allowing military exercises right in his own backyard, literally, as troops have been going in and out of Hacienda Luisita. He is also intent on maintaining good ties to a murdering government which is the US. He wants the AFP to continue being mercenary forces. As for Hacienda Luisita, he and his family maintain their illegal, immoral and unjust claim to it at the inhumane expense of thousands of farmers and agricultural workers,” he said.

The peasant leader said that chances are, President Aquino does not even know or he has forgotten that in 1902 American soldiers on the order of the US government ravaged the Philippines in a war against Filipino patriots and revolutionaries.

“ US troops slaughtered four million Filipinos, most of them civilians. Now, a century later, Aquino condones the massacre of Filipinos by US and foreign multinational corporations, oil and mining companies. Without batting an eyelash he also sends the AFP to attack peasant communities and other oppressed sectors to advance his campaign to suppress the just, legitimate and moral demand of rural peoples for genuine agrarian reform. Aquino does intend to build his ‘daang matuwid’ – it’s a superhighway for the furtherance of US interests and the interests of local big business and landowners,” he said.

Other leaders who spoke at the protests were Head secretary-general Dr. Genevieve Rivera, BAYAN deputy-secretary-general Rita Baua, Bayan-CL’s Roman Polintan, and UMA’s Rodel Mesa.

Rivera addressed the soldiers manning the gate of Camp Aquino to consider how they themselves looked like fools because of the Balikatan exercises.

“You know that the US troops are in the country not to train you or help you. It has been almost 14 years since the VFA was implemented and the joint exercises began, but the AFP is still nowhere near being a an institution where there is no corruption. Soldiers remain mercenary forces attacking, killing the very people they are supposed to protect. At the same time, soldiers remain badly paid, with sorry equipment and poor benefits,” she said.

Rivera said that the US military was only pretending to do humanitarian and socio-civic work in various parts of the country. “What they’re really doing in illegally involving themselves in the government’s counter-insurgency program and committing human rights violations in the bargain,” she said. (

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