While many Filipinos welcome American support in strengthening the Philippines’ territorial defense, left-wing activists and nationalists have opposed the ongoing “Balikatan military exercises between the Philippines and the United States and the growing U.S. military presence in the country.

Protesters display placards during a rally near the U.S. Embassy to coincide with the start of the annual joint U.S.-Philippines military exercise dubbed Balikatan 2016 (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) Monday, April 4, 2016, in Quezon, Philippines. The annual military drill, involving 5,000 U.S. personnel and 3,500 counterpart from the Philippines, is being conducted amidst tension in the South China Sea. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
(AP Photo/ credit to Bullit Marquez)

Dozens of left-wing activists, Bayan- Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Bayan Muna protested at the U.S. Embassy in Manila on Monday, waving placards that read “No to U.S. aggression” and “U.S. troops, the Philippines is not your playground.”

(AP Photo/ credit to Bullit Marquez)

Likewise students led by the League of Filipino Students (LFS) and Kabataan Partylist also stormed the Embassy of the United States of America (US)

League of Filipino Student (LFS) national chairperson Charisse Bañez said, “It is outrageous that the government opens our country to every foreign country interested in our vast natural resources and strategic location in the Pacific. Aquino has shamelessly allowed multiple countries, with US in the leading role, to wantonly violate our sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Bañez added.

Bañez said, that by allowing US to invite its allies, Aquino is slowly transforming the entire Philippines into a huge US military outpost in the Asia-Pacific without any regards for our freedom or safety.

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Bañez said, “We condemn in the strongest possible term the incomparable servility of Aquino to US which allowed them to enter the county and bring other countries with their unwanted presence. It is reprehensible that while farmers are being killed in Kidapawan or starved to death in other El Niño-stricken provinces, Aquino is busy in making ways for foreign powers to re-occupy our country. We will not keep quiet while Aquino surrenders our sovereignty and territorial integrity. We will stand against these incursions.”

Bañez noted that even though the construction of US bases is still under way, US is showing unparalleled arrogance and unmatched disrespect to our sovereignty. According to the youth leader, the invitation of US to its allies and other countries showed that US intends to slowly take full control of the Philippine’s military relations with foreign powers to further its own geo-political interest in the Asia-Pacific. – Robert Beerlak

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