GABNET SAYS: VFA=INCREASE IN PROSTITION, SEX TRAFFICKING

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GABRIELA Network (bardoza@idt.net)
Tue, 01 Dec 1998 01:50:05 -0500


[please pass on. thank you.]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01 December 1998

Contact: Dorotea Mendoza
                GABRIELA Network
                tel. [212] 592-3507
                email: gabnet@gabnet.org

NEW PHILIPPINE-US MILITARY AGREEMENT OPENS
ARCHIPELAGO TO GREATER EXPLOITATION, HUMAN
RIGHTS VIOLATION AND SEX TRAFFICKING

Where in the world can the United States bring in any number of military
and civilian personnel through any airport or harbor at any time without
passport and visa? Where can an American commit the most heinous crime
with impunity, so long as the US military commander issues a certificate
stating that such “arises out of an act or omission done in the
performance of official duty?”

What country in the world automatically and ipso facto waives “any and
all claims... for damage, loss or destruction to property... or for
death or injury to military and civilian personnel?”

These are the intolerable provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement,
signed by the Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the US
Ambassador to the Philippines last February 10, 1998. It was a
“midnight act” of the outgoing administration of former President,
Marcos crony General Fidel V. Ramos, a West Point Academy graduate.

GABRIELA Network, a Philippine-US women’s solidarity organization, asks
all Americans to contact their Congressional representatives, both in
the lower and upper house, to register their opposition to this virtual
re-colonization and US military occupation of the Philippines. The
people and the nation of that archipelago have already been much-imposed
upon, subjected to a hundred year struggle against the dominance and
control of the United States.

The US military’s record, for the nearly 50 years after WWII that it was
in the Philippines, stands as follows:
1. almost a million women enticed into the sex trade developed by the
US military authority ;
2. some 60,000 children abandoned by their American soldier-fathers;
3. HIV/AIDS entered the Philippines through the bases;
4. dumped “low-level” radioactive wastes into the Pacific waters;
5. “accidentally” killed and maimed Filipinos, “mistaking” them for
wild boars;
6. killed and maimed women and children for “rest-and-recreation”
pleasures.

Enough is enough. There is no need for additional US military bases;
indeed, there is a need to reduce, if not remove all, US bases in the
Pacific. The US military has bases in Guam, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan
and Palau. The Visiting Forces Agreement is an unnecessary expense,
which will cut into the social programs for the poor in the United
States.

It is also morally and ethically wrong. The Filipino people have fought
against continued US dominance, especially US military dominance, within
its national territory. They have undergone an epic suffering, much of
which has gone unrecorded and unremarked upon by the American people.
We must put a stop to the battering and the stalking of this nation and
its people by our own military.

On this hundredth year anniversary of the Philippine-American war,
during which the archipelago lost 1/8th of its population, the American
people has the opportunity to correct a historic wrong. And the
American people can do so simply by exercising their democratic right to
have control over foreign affairs and diplomatic decisions made by their
own government.

Please demand of the US Congress that the Visiting Forces Agreement
entered into by the United States with the Philippines be terminated
immediately. Please send the same message to the Philippine government,
which is under the erroneous impression that no one cares about the
Filipino people on this side of the Pacific. Send your objections to:

                      President Joseph Estrada
                      Malacanang Palace
                      Manila, Philippines

Please send us a copy at gabnet@gabnet.org or GABNet, PO Box 403, Times
Square Station, New York, NY 10036.


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