APL-Women: Uphold RP sovereignty!

The Government, particularly the GMA administration, must ensure that justice is served for the Filipina who was raped by US service men recently. Any attempts to have these soldiers moved, transferred, or otherwise hidden from public view to escape the wheels of justice will only be met with nothing but the most resounding condemnation from the public.

The Alliance of Progressive Labor-Women believe that the Visiting Forces Agreement has basically turned the whole country into a military base. It allows for the entry and mobilization of US forces anywhere in the country. Thus, the rape case in Subic is sure to repeat itself in other places as long as this treaty remains in force.

Historically, where US troops go, a booming sex industry follows, as US service men exploit the opportunity to indulge in their “rest and recreation” to the detriment of poor women everywhere. US military forces have dumped not only their toxic waste on lands like the Philippines but also diseases and other social ills.

APL-Women do not oppose Americans per se, but the underlying principles behind the presence of US forces in the Philippines. These soldiers should be at home with their families, not waging a dubious war on terror in behalf of President Bush with his unilateralist arrogance. They should be living their lives, instead of committing crimes elsewhere.

As far as the Subic rape case is concerned, the Philippine government should not provide any special treatment to the trespassers, regardless of race. The US Embassy is looking more and more like a coddler of guilty criminals, as it exerts greater efforts to try the service men from public scrutiny.

But more than that, however, the Arroyo government must ensure that at every step of the way, it is Philippine sovereignty and the interests of the victim and the Filipino people everywhere that are its most paramount concern. Not military aid. Not the patronage provided by the US government. Not the country’s long-standing debts. And not any promised funding once the anti-terrorism bill is enacted into law.

APL-women calls for the repeal of the VFA and the re-direction of the country’s foreign policy away from the militarist adventures of Bush and his Coalition of the (Abusive) Willing in Iraq and elsewhere. Let’s take this opportunity to re-assert Philippine sovereignty, NOW!!

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