Reference: Peter Arvin Jabido, NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
US Intervention Can Never Lead to Peace– NYCHRP
The claim of 2010 Philippine Presidential aspirant Gilberto Teodoro Jr. that a so-called “physical peace” in the Philippines must be enforced by way of US militarization and increased military spending is nothing short of an opportunist ploy to win Washington’s support for the Arroyo camp’s pick as the next president of the Philippines and for Arroyo’s Charter Change.
Philippine Defense Secretary Teodoro’s recent US visit relays no genuine interest on the Arroyo government’s part to seek peace in the Philippines, but rather an interest to lick Uncle Sam’s heels like an obedient lapdog.
Under the guise of holding meetings on peace and security with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, National Intelligence Director Dennis Cutler Blair, and Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Edward Panetta, Teodoro sealed military pacts wherein US troops would remain stationed indefinitely in the Philippines under the auspices of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Balikatan Joint Military Exercises between the US and Philippine armed forces.
But such militarist measures cannot resolve the ongoing phenomenon of armed conflict in the Philippines. Like other poor countries throughout Asia, Latin America, and Africa, armed conflict and civil unrest are born out of conditions of hunger, poverty, and acute socio-economic disparities. The same is the case with armed conflict and civil unrest in the Philippines.
The peace negotiations have not only produced agreements that bind both parties to International Humanitarian Law (IHL) when conducting armed conflict, they also actively engage the GRP to build peace by way of implementing very basic social and economic reforms in the Philippines, including genuine land reform, jobs creation through national industrialization, ending government corruption, etc.
To refute Teodoro’s line, US militarization in the Philippines can never be about peace. It is about control, the type of control that requires a suppression of the Filipino people’s nationalist aspirations. Suppression can only lead to resistance and more social unrest, an unending cycle.
Perhaps the kind of peace Teodoro is referring to is the peace of mind Washington has in knowing that US troops in the Philippines and the Bush administration’s foreign policy in the Philippines will remain, and that absolutely no genuine change is in store for the Philippines under a US-backed puppet government. ###