As US-Philippine military drills begin, CPP opposes VFA and weighs its role in possible China conflict

[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

, 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.

Annual training

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.

Exercise venues

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.

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Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon

Local Reds vow to fight with PH forces vs Chinese aggression

By Dennis Jay Santos, Inquirer Mindanao, Friday, September 28th, 2012

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. Continue reading