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AFP Modernization Program

EDCA to Dispel AFP’s Modernization Dreams – Anakbayan-ST

AFP Modernization Program
AFP Modernization Program

Last April, US President Barack Obama stepped foot in the country to sign the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Commander-in-chief, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III recognizes the ‘backwardness’ of AFP, and according to him, the US Forces will help the Philippine Military to ‘modernize’. EDCA is said to be a ‘better’ version of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the two parties. Therefore, EDCA is believed to help the Philippines regarding its dispute with China. But the President Obama himself does not have a concrete stand on the issue.
But the truth beyond this deception is that the US will only use the Philippines; its manpower, labor, facilities, utilities and natural resources, all for free to gain back its losses due to massive financial crisis it is currently facing. Some political analysts call this “The Greater Depression”: as the US found the Philippines to be in good strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region, it will exhaust the country for their needs to be provided and so that the US can compete with the continuously growing economy of China, Japan and Russia.
Through EDCA, Aquino once again proved how anti-people his administration is. Aquino once again betrayed the Filipino people. He single-hand gave up the Philippines territorial integrity and sovereignty. EDCA was signed without the knowledge of the Filipino people what are included in the agreement. The due process for Senatorial debate, Congressional decision and citizens’ right for public discussion were all bypassed. Aquino rushed the signing of the agreement, proving that his administration is a big follower of US dictatorship.
Because of EDCA, the Philippines will be just ‘one big US Military base’. This means that US Forces can base anywhere in the country as location limits were not really specified in the agreement. Their presence will result to power projection across the region leaving the people intimidated and fearful with men with guns. Also, because of EDCA, US can deploy all their weapons, even the most dangerous and hazardous ones in the country. After all, it is the lives of the Filipino people that are at risk, not the lives of the Americans. Another is that because of EDCA, the country opened itself against all enemies of the United States which means any of them can attack us anytime. Aquino seemed to forget the historic 1991 Senatorial decision that put an end to permanent US Military Bases since 1947. But now, Aquino allowed their return despite several instances from the past of destruction of natural resources, reports on health risks and human rights violations especially to women and children by the US Military Forces.
“EDCA as a form of “strengthening of friendship ties within US and Philippines” is not just an illusion, but a complete deception. Because clearly, through EDCA, there will be no mutual benefits. The US will be the only one to gain, and to take control, and Aquino let US to strengthen and widen its imperialist and capitalist powers even if this means betrayal of his own people.”, Diego Torres, Anakbayan Southern Tagalog spokesperson manifested.
“If EDCA will really bring modernization to the Philippine military, why is the AFP still backwards in all aspects despite the presence of US bases for 44 years and implementation of Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) for 15 years?”, Torres ended.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.