Women oppose spreading US footprint in Mindanao conflict

July 4, 2017

By Gabriela

Women oppose spreading US footprint in Mindanao conflict

Women’s organizations marched on the United States embassy in Manila to express opposition to the predominant role increasingly imposed by the United States, its special forces and its client Armed Forces in the Philippines in achieving the US’s politico-military objectives in the Mindanao region as the government maintains iron-fist martial law order on the pretext of fighting the terrorist Maute group.

“The so-called technical assistance for the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ battle to free Marawi city from the ISIS-linked Maute is a lame excuse to justify direct intervention by US special forces and mercenaries. In the end, their final aim is not to protect civilians from terror but to keep reinforcing a century of U.S. control of the Philippines as a neocolonial source of minerals, produce, and cheap labor,” GABRIELA secretary general Joms Salvador said during the protest march timed on the traditional Filipino-American Friendship Day and the American independence day.

A 2006 U.S. intelligence assessment said Mindanao could hold mineral resources worth up to $1 trillion, accounting for 70 percent of the Philippines’ total mineral wealth, which can only be extracted if the US and Philippine military can subdue communist and Muslim revolutionary insurgencies.

“The goal of the U.S.’ intervention is to derail the peace processes with the Moros and the National Democratic front that was restarted by the Duterte administration. We urge President Duterte to assert national sovereignty and the pursuit of a genuine peace process to address the real historical roots of armed conflict that is fundamentally maintained by massive US military and economic presence in the country,” Salvador said.

Salvador also advised Duterte to lift his martial law declaration and check the military’s apparent ability to create its own foreign policy independent of the civilian executive branch when it directly asked for US military assistance for resolving the Marawi conflict.