Activists doubt agenda of Balikatan humanitarian mission in Bicol region, suspect economic spying

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Militants protest against U.S. troops presence in Bicol region. Photo courtesy of Karapatan-Bikol
Militants protest against U.S. troops presence in Bicol region. Photo courtesy of Karapatan-Bikol

LEGAZPI CITY, 01Oct2013 (BicolToday.com) – Militant organizations in Bicol region frown over the humanitarian missions being conducted by US military troops in the Bicol region.

Activists cast doubt if the humanitarian mission is also disguised to gather economic intelligence such as, mapping of mineral deposits for much-needed precious industry metals.

The mission is a prelude to the military exercise, and their “Humanitarian Mission” is part of the military exercise hiding behind this ongoing goodwill gesture, Karapatan Bicol informed this online news group yesterday.

The human rights group considers US-RP Balikatan exercise as “primarily designed for political and economic interest of United States of America in furtherance of their hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region.”

“We will launch more region-wide campaigns against the “RP-US” military exercise to increase awareness among Bicolanos, and ask for vigilance on the objectives of the forthcoming joint military exercise,” said Vince Casilihan, spokesperson of Karapatan-Bicol.

Some sensitive issues such as reported human rights violations committed in Mindanao, particularly in the provinces of Zamboanga, Basilan and Sulu by the visiting US forces, that were never addressed by the government, are being raised by militant organizations.

“We don’t want these things to happen again here in Bicol region”, Casilihan warned.

Karapatan-Bicol is calling the attention of local politicians to be cautious on US troops present in their areas.

Karapatan-Bicol downplays insurgency problems in Bicol region as minimal, compared to other regions in the Philippines.

“This could lead to possible US troops intervention in the internal affairs of the Philippine government to engage in direct military warfare against the local rebels in the Bicol region.This is a violation of our constitution,” said the spokesman.

Casilihan said: “Aside from the war exercise and its humanitarian mission in Bicol region, they might be into mineral- mapping of mineral deposits found in the region.” [BicolToday.com]

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