Maoists welcome Duterte's plan to kick out US troops

Urge Philippines leader to follow through call for US troops’ removal from troubled south under independent foreign policy

Maoists welcome Duterte's plan to kick out US troops

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Philippines' Maoist movement has backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s efforts to distance the country from its one time colonial master and supported his call for the withdrawal of United States special forces from the country's troubled south.

Late Tuesday, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), whose political wing is engaged in peace talks with the government, urged Duterte’s administration “to follow-through the declaration with actual political and diplomatic measures".

It added that it also supported Duterte's pursuit of an independent foreign policy, and stated that the withdrawal should extend beyond southern Mindanao -- including majority Muslim provinces -- to cover the entire archipelago.

The U.S. -- the Philippines’ long-time ally and former colonizer -- has long deployed special forces soldiers to train and advise local units fighting Abu Sayyaf militants in the south, but the program -- which once involved 1,200 Americans -- was discontinued in 2015, although a small presence has remained.

On Monday, Duterte called for the withdrawal from Mindanao, warning that the U.S. presence would worsen conditions in the conflict-ridden area.

He also accused the U.S. of being a “hypocrite”, and presented a photo depicting American troops near piles of dead Moro Muslims -- including naked women -- during the 1906 Bud Dajo massacre in which around 1,000 locals were reportedly killed in Sulu province -- an Abu Sayyaf bastion.

In its statement, the CPP lamented that the U.S. military had set up military facilities inside the camps of the armed forces under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which allows the U.S. military to rotate troops in the country while building and operating facilities at bases.

The CPP said that even before Philippines congress ratified the deal in July, U.S. troops and advisers “have long been operating clandestinely” inside armed forces camps.

“In a display of gross lack of national dignity, the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] has allowed the U.S. military to maintain an exclusive compound inside its main headquarters which is off-limits even to the top generals of the AFP,” it claimed.

The party urged the Duterte government to probe and “demand a clear and complete accounting” of U.S. operations being carried out in Sulu and countrywide, arguing that the Philippines can only be truly independent if agreements with the U.S. are terminated.

“President Duterte can only establish mutual relations with the U.S. as well as with China and other countries by establishing the Philippines as an independent and non-aligned country,” it underlined.

“To do so, he must end all agreements which bind the Philippines to the U.S. and make the country a vassal of the U.S. military.”

After lashing out at U.S. criticism of his administration's war on drugs and cursing Barack Obama and American colonization, Duterte declared Saturday that his administration would pursue an independent foreign policy.

He has since said he no longer wants the Philippines to participate in joint sea patrols with other countries -- an agreement his predecessor had reached with the U.S. regarding the South China Sea amid a dispute with China.

He also revealed Tuesday that Russia and China had agreed to provide weaponry and armaments for his military to use in its counter-insurgency campaign in its southern region of Mindanao.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Eylül 2016, 14:42