Sunday, September 13, 2009

Philippine rebels to target US troops deployed in Mindanao

A Filipino and US soldier patrol the southern Philippine town of Jolo. A US chopper also hovers in the town while a military transport plane takes off in Zamboanga City in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 13, 2009) – The communist National Democratic Front has ordered rebel forces to wage an all-out war against US troops deployed in the southern Philippines.

Rebels were told wage an all-out struggle against the deployment and intervention of American soldiers in the internal armed conflict in the Philippines.

Jorge Madlos, a spokesman for the NDF in Mindanao, said the all-out war was in response to the statement by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates that Pentagon would continue to involve itself in the "counter-insurgency" war in the Philippines.

Gates earlier said that some 600 US counter-terrorism troops will remain in the southern Philippines, where Filipino soldiers are battling communist and Muslim insurgents that past four decades.

Madlos said the US position was echoed by Filipino Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro who was in the US last week for a meeting with Gates and Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta.

“US imperialism has become ever more arrogant and overbearing in asserting its imperial power over the Philippines. It is trampling on Philippine sovereignty with utter impunity emboldened by the outright puppetry and servility of the Arroyo government,” Madlos said in a statement.

He said the US military has established its permanent presence in the Philippines through the auspices of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Many of the US soldiers are currently deployed in Mindanao under the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines headquartered in Zamboanga City.

Madlos said US military forces have been increasingly involved in counter-guerrilla operations.

He said US troops are engaged in electronic and satellite surveillance as well as provide battlefield logistical support to the Philippine military. Teams of US soldiers have been seen embedded in Armed Forces of the Philippines units in combat field operations as well as in tactical command posts.

“The patriotic people of Mindanao do not welcome the permanent presence and intervention of US troops in Mindanao and elsewhere in the Philippines. They are not deceived by the so-called humanitarian operations being conducted by the US that aim to camouflage their military interventionism,” Madlos said as he warned American troops against encroaching in guerrilla fronts in Mindanao where there is a great possibility of armed encounters with the NPA.

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, which is composed of various progressive organizations, has also opposed to the presence of US troops in Mindanao and said the VFA violates the Philippines’ sovereignty and justifies the prolonged presence of American forces in the country despite the absence of any basing treaty.

The US military has denied it is involved in combat in the southern Philippines, but there were many reports about its clandestine intelligence operations and the crashes of unmanned aerial vehicles in areas where communist and Muslim rebels are actively operating. (Mindanao Examiner)

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