[The US role in the Philippines, militarily, began with the US’ replacement of the Spanish as colonial master, and the defeat of Filipino independence forces. The formal colonial relationship continued for a half-century, when a comprador, neo-colonial relationship was established, with strong US controls and a string of US military bases in place. During the US war on Vietnam (as part of its strategic “encirclement of China” campaign), the US utilized the Philippines as a major staging area and base for aggression, which also brought in the period of Marcos’ martial law to ensure US control over rebellious Filipinos. In the years after the war, US strategic planning reduced the US military from full-time deployment on bases, to a recurrent “Visiting Forces” role. The US is now pressing for larger forces and a more established presence once again. With US hegemony feeling pressure from the growth of Chinese imperialist economics and power, the sharpening dispute over the Spratley Islands (between the Philippines and China–and other “China Sea” disputes involving Vietnam, Japan, and Korea) may be a flashpoint as the Philippines are once again becoming a geo-strategic pivot for regional contention. See the following 3 articles on how these forces, including the Communist Party of the Philippines, may see their role in the period ahead. — Frontlines ed.]
The PH, US Marines begin annual joint exercises
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Monday, October 8th, 2012
SUBIC Bay Freeport—The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) starts Monday joint exercises with soldiers of the United States (US) to strengthen their defense partnership amid continuing tensions between Manila and Beijing over the ownership of the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal and other disputed islands in the West Philippine (South China) Sea.
In a statement, First Lt. Cherry Tindog, director of the Philippine Marine Corps public affairs office, said the 10-day Philippines-US Amphibious Landing Exercise (Phiblex) 2013 would focus on humanitarian assistance, disaster response and relief preparedness, maritime security and community development.
Tindog said Phiblex was held yearly, providing joint training not only to Philippine Marines and US troops, but also the Philippine Army, Air Force and Navy.
The US helicopter carrier USS Bonhomme Richard, escorted by two frigates, arrived in this free port on Friday carrying 2,200 American troops. The ship carries amphibious assault vehicles, light armored vehicles, helicopters and Harrier fighter jets.
The USS Olympia, a submarine, docked here on Thursday, but it was not clear if it will join the exercises. The US Embassy, in a statement, said the Olympia’s visit “highlights the strong historic, community and military connections” between the US and the Philippines.
The training venues are the Subic Bay International Airport here; Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija; Marine Barracks Gregorio Lim in Ternate, Cavite; Crow Valley in Tarlac; Naval Station
Apolinario Jalandoon in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, and the Naval Education Training Command in San Antonio, Zambales.
“[The conduct of Phiblex 2013] perpetuates a long and lasting partnership founded firmly on the common heritage between freedom-loving countries committed to true service and the preservation of liberty and democracy,” the Phiblex command said in a statement.
Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon
Local Reds vow to fight with PH forces vs Chinese aggression
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Philippine communist rebels, while embracing the ideology of Mao Zedong, will not side with China in the event the two countries’ territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) gets ugly.
Jorge Madlos, spokesperson of National Democratic Front in Mindanao, said New People’s Army rebels will fight alongside government security forces if China declared war on the Philippines.
“If there is a direct foreign invasion of our country, the focus of the revolutionary movement would be to fight the foreign aggressor,” Madlos, also known as Ka Oris, told the Inquirer in a telephone interview.
He said Filipinos stood no chance of winning any war with China if it were fought at sea but if it were to be fought on land, “they (Chinese) don’t stand a chance.”
Madlos acknowledged that China was a superpower but that fact should not cow Filipinos who should defend their country at all cost.
However, the senior local communist leader said, he did not believe that China would press its claims over the West Philippine Sea to the extent of going to war with the Philippines and other claimant-countries.
“I don’t think China is foolhardy to attack us and wage war with the Philippines,” Madlos said.
He also said Malacañang should not be too dependent on the United States as it was not helpful in resolving the territorial dispute with China.
“China has looked at us like we are pawns of the US. Because of that outlook, whatever step we take will be suspected of having been dictated by the US,” Madlos said.
He said seeking assistance from the US “undermines the resolve of the Filipinos.
Communist Party of the Philippines
October 05, 2012
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today denounced as an outright violation of Philippine national sovereignty the docking of another US nuclear attack submarine at the former US naval base in Subic, Zambales.
The USS Olympia (SSN-717), described as a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine, docked yesterday at Subic. It is the fourth American naval vessel to have have docked in Manila and Subic over the past two months. The USS North Carolina and USS Hawaii, both nuclear submarines and the naval warship USS Milius and submarine tender USS Frank Cable have successively docked in Philippine ports since August.
“The increasingly frequent dockings of American naval warships in the Philippines mark heightened US military presence and intervention in the Asia-Pacific region,” said the CPP. “In collaboration with the Aquino government, the US has been using the Philippines as one of its military outposts in launching interventionist operations and for refuelling, resupply and the rest and recreation of its military personnel.”
The CPP also denounced the ongoing PHIBLEX exercises being held in various parts of Luzon involving 2,600 US and 1,200 AFP soldiers. “The US military has been using these joint military exercises and so-called ‘humanitarian assistance and disaster response’ operations in order to continuously deploy thousands of American soldiers in various parts of the country.”
American troops have been arriving in the Philippines since the first week of September and are scheduled to stay until October 18. American soldiers have maintained their presence in Zambales, Palawan and Cavite over the past few weeks.
“At any given time, the US military has thousands of military personnel in the Philippines, most of which are permanently stationed in the Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF-Philippines) headquarters inside Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City,” said the CPP.