By Joey Natividad
LEGASPI CITY, Albay (BicolToday.com/09-Jan-2013) – Nationalist groups in the Bicol Region bewailed the unlawful intrusion of United States war material in the country over the recovery of an unmanned drone (remote-controlled aircraft) which similar types and models are being used as target reconnaissance aircraft, or being used for vectoring combat targets.
Human rights group KARAPATAN informed Bicol Today.com on Tuesday, January 8, saying that “the recovery of a crashed US drone on the waters of Brgy. Bagahanglad, San Jacinto, Masbate on January 6 affirms the US imperialists’ continuing outright violation of the country’s sovereignty.”
In a related move, Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Teddy Casiño in Manila made an outcry over the discovery of the U.S.-made drone as form of espionage in the country, saying that “the Aquino Administration and the U.S. Government have to answer pressing questions.”
Vince Casilihan, spokesperson of Karapatan-Albay deplores the presence of a US drone on Philippine territory as “an incursion of the US to spy on the rich natural resources of the country in its rampage of imperialist plunder.”
According to Casilihan, the said drone have most certainly surveyed, at the very least, the lands and seas of Bicol Region to provide the US valuable data on rich mineral deposits and other natural assets of the region for prospective pillage.
The spokesman said its group maintains that the incident amplifies the government’s blatant disregard of the Constitution.
“For one,” Casilihan added, “drones such as the one found in Masbate are US military weaponry and are launched from the US Navy’s advanced nuclear-powered warships. The U.S. Government clearly violates the Philippine Constitution on provisions in relation to nuclear weapons, and as regards foreign military troops and facilities.”
Partylist Rep.Teddy Casiño on Tuesday,January 8, called for a probe on the presence of a US-made unmanned aerial vehicle or “drone” recovered off the waters of San Jacinto town on Ticao Island in Masbate, and he demanded that the US stop its espionage operations in the country.
“Dapat talaga eh imbestigahan ang pangyayaring ito dahil tila minamanmanan tayo ng mga dayuhan sa sarili nating bansa at napakaraming tanong na dapat sagutin,” said the lawmaker.
“This incident is alarming and a potential infringement on our territorial sovereignty. The US as well as Philippine governments have a lot of explaining to do,” Casiño said, informing BicolToday.com.
Casiño said there are at least 5 questions that need to be answered by Philippine and US authorities:
1. What was the drone doing in that area & what was its mission?
2. Was the Philippine government aware of its presence and operation?
3. Who gave the clearances for such an operation?
4. What was the legal basis if indeed clearance was given?
5. If no clearance was obtained, will the Philippine government file a protest?
“The answers to these questions are of paramount importance and have to be provided at once, lest a cover up is being done. It appears that the US is infringing upon our territorial sovereignty with impunity and we, from Makabayan Party, will not take this sitting down,” said Casiño.
Meanwhile, KARAPATAN said President Aquino himself confirmed that he has allowed US drones to fly over Philippine territory to conduct reconnaissance flights, an act that tells Aquino Administration’s servility to US dictates on military interventionism.
By this, Casilihan warned the public of another ominous role of US drones slyly flying in Philippine airspace.
“Clearly, these drones are being used to assist in the government’s counterinsurgency campaign Oplan Bayanihan which has been ultimately formidable on the part of the civilians,” he said. “News reports abroad abound with the ineffectiveness of drones in identifying legitimate military targets, and PNoy’s government is heedless to the international clamor against drone-led attacks that have essentially targeted civilians,” Casilihan lamented.
Moreover, with US Embassy officials quick on denying that the US Navy drone is being used for spying, Casilihan stressed. “Whom are they fooling? Drones are otherwise called unmanned aerial vehicles. They are remotely controlled and have spying capabilities, and Philippine Navy officials at best are saying that the recovered drone is largely used in reconnaissance,” he clarified.
On account of this concern, the rights group urges all patriotic Filipinos to condemn the government’s shameless acquiescence of Philippine sovereignty to the US, and oppose US intervention that pervades the Philippine’s military affairs.
“We have in the past succeeded in holding back RP-US Balikatan War Exercises in 2009, and have astoundingly protested the recent Operation Pacific Angel of 2012. Our continuing fight should be for the abrogation of the VFA and the Mutual Defense Treaty that are nothing but licenses for the US to ram their guns on the Filipino people while they despoil our country,” concluded Casilihan.[BicolToday.com]
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