Keeping military pacts with Duterte gov’t a “kiss of death”, Biden warned

Manila, Philippines — The militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Sunday warned United States (U.S.) President Joe Biden Jr. on the implications of maintaining military alliance with the Philippine government under President Rodrigo Duterte which is tainted with human rights violations and crimes against humanity.

PAMALAKAYA’s caution statement was aired to media outfits days after the visit of U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III in the country to reaffirm the U.S.-Philippine diplomatic alliance, particularly military agreements such as the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which President Duterte has once threatened to terminate.

In a statement, PAMALAKAYA told the Democrat U.S. President that aligning himself through military treaties with the Philippine President charged of crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a “kiss of death that would cause irreparable damage to his reputation in the global community”.

“Mr. Biden wouldn’t want to be aligned with President Duterte who is an international outcast and exposed in the global community as a murderer and authoritarian. Unless he wants to cost his political reputation, President Biden has no option but to publicly renounce and embarrass Mr. Duterte over his high crimes against humanity,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

“President Biden would be earning the ire of the anti-Duterte global community if he keeps on enabling the tyrannical reign and state terrorism of Mr. Duterte through continued military support,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list Representative added.

Moreover, PAMALAKAYA assailed the recent visit of a U.S. official to the country as a “reassertion” of U.S. hegemony in a form of military treaties amid the growing influence of China in the region. The fishers’ group maintained that it is opposed to any foreign military intervention in the country; whether it be China, U.S. or any foreign superpowers.

“While we oppose Chinese aggression in our exclusive economic zone, we reassert that the VFA and other unfair military agreements with the U.S. that give its troops extraterritorial rights in our land be terminated. Our national independence should not depend to any foreign superpowers,” Hicap added.

The fishers’ group asserts that the continued U.S. military aid to the Duterte government has “intensified the regime’s bloody war on drugs and war on terror that have resulted in massive killings, human rights abuses, and violations of democratic and civil rights”.

“In light of the Duterte government’s dismal record on human rights violation, all the more reason to withhold any foreign military support,” ended Hicap. ###

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