By MART D. SAMBALUD
DAVAO CITY — A delegation of North America-Philippines Solidarity Affair (NAPSA) said the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the United States of America and the Philippines “protects and defends US strategic interests and hegemony throughout the world by establishing control over strategic straits around the world.”
In a press interview, Bernadette Ellorin, Bayan-USA Secretary-General, said that deployment of overseas US military bases globally particularly in the Philippines “is intended to provide protection and defense of US’ economic life blood in Asia-Pacific Region.”
“I think it is important for us to always remember that the Philippines is part of United State of America’s war on aggression. Historically, US bases are never for defense. Therefore, US is controlling the major shipping lane in the Pacific that are crucial to commerce and trade. The so-called pivot in Asia is really economically-driven,” Ellorin said.
EDCA, signed last April 28, is a ten-year accord that allows the United States to station troops and operations in Philippine territory.
“I believe EDCA will be pushed beyond ten years. Remember, US has been here in the Philippines for so long. Their direct occupation in the Philippines is perceived to be unconstitutional and illegal,” Ellorin explained.
Ellorin added, “(T)he US bases here are also to control movements of peace and democracy here in Asia Pacific Region and by peace. I mean not absence of conflict but struggle for sovereignty, right to self determination and economics as well.”
Ramon Daniel Mejia, an Iraq war veteran, in his testimony bared that “United State of America’s wars of aggression in Asia-Pacific region laid down the groundwork and develop infrastructure for total economic, political and proxy military defense.”
“The US government’s claim of “rebalance” simply means deploying more US troops like in the Philippines. A similar and familiar scenario is contained in EDCA,” Mejia said.
Mejia, an Islam convert from Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas, joined the Marine Corps on July 2001 and had served as the supply operations and administration clerk of 1st FSSG 1st Marine Expeditionary Force of Camp Pendleton.
In 2003, he was deployed in Kuwait to Combat Service Support Battalion 18 and in Iraq where he said he was able to witness for himself “the devastation and sadness that US war causes to Iraq and its people.”
“In military we are taught to dehumanize our enemy. They are our enemy. We have a mission and in war [we don’t’ care] if people die. It’s just war,” Mejia said.
Meanwhile, Mejia believed that EDCA legitimized the aggressive expansion and deployment of U.S military troops in the Philippines because of US’s economic interest in the Pacific.
“The Philippines geo-political location is crucial to China. The US government’s policy over the China is one of engagement and containment as provided in the Trans-Pacific Trade deal.”
According to Wikileaks, the TPP is “the forerunner to the equally secret US-EU pact TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), for which President Obama initiated US-EU negotiations in January 2013. Together, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP.”
Mejia said the Philippines is one of the chokepoints — the shipping lanes where the commerce and trade of the world and the naval warships that protect such interest and commerce of U.S. lay in these chokepoints.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a free trade deal between the U.S., Canada, and 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The countries currently party to the agreement — currently including Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Canada, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, — are some of the U.S.’ biggest and fastest-growing commercial partners, accounting for $1.5 trillion worth of trade in goods in 2012 and $242 billion worth of services in 2011.
BAYAN-SMR Regional Secretary General Sheena Duazo said that EDCA’s “motive is to secure economic, political and military domination over the region; with complete disregard for the livelihood and welfare of the people who live there – with women and children as the most impacted by such policies.”
“It’s very obvious that U.S presence [in Asia] is “economic-driven” because the Asia Pacific Region caters the 60 percent of US export economy. And in times of economic crisis the only way U.S economy can stay afloat is to control the Asia Pacific Region economically,” Ellorin pointed out.
Ellorin claimed that “China is perceived by US to be an economic rival and therefore, the Obama administration is really secretly negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement to isolate China and ensure that US dominates in the region economically.”
“The Philippines is a product of U.S was aggression and history showed that our country has always been struggling,” she said.