Militants urge Duterte to junk Edca, VFA

MILITANT groups in Cagayan de Oro City said they support President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement urging American Special Forces to leave Mindanao, saying the President’s pronouncement was long overdue.

"Gikalipay namo ang pronouncement ni President Digong nga ipapahawa ng US Special Forces sa Mindanao. Kini sa una ra gyud namo ni nga singgit kay kabalo kita nga lahi ang ilang tumong dinhi sa atoa, kini ang pagabusar sa atong ekonomiya sa rehiyon. Except nalang tong mga Amerikano nga nia dinhi for a good cause, like the NGOs," Wildon Barros, spokesperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), said.

He said US military troops have caused so much atrocities not just in Mindanao but to the country as a whole, citing the 600,000 fatalities during the Fil-Am War; the 44 slain members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) during the Mamasapano incident, among others.

Barros said the President's next step should be the junking of the government's one-sided treaties with the US such as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which allows the Americans use of the old Lumbia Airport.

"Ang sunod na unta nga move sa Presidente is ang pagbasura sa Edca diin gikasabotan nga isa sa agreed location ang Lumbia. Since Edca is an executive order, hopeful kaayo mi karon nga mao na kini ang musunod nga move ni President Digong," Barros said.

Kabataan Partylist-Northern Mindanao coordinator Vennel Chenfoo also challenged the administration to drop not just Edca, but also the Mutual Defense Treaty, and the Visiting Forces Agreement.

"We support the call of Duterte to remove US special forces in Mindanao. Tin-aw nga paglapas sa Nasudnong soberanya ang presensya sa mga amerikanong sundalo diri sa isla sa Mindanao. Mi-resulta pa kini sa daghan kaayong human rights violations. Isa na niini ang pagpatay Kay Gregan Cardeño sa camp Ranao sulod sa isa ka secured facility ng US, kani-adtong 2010," he said.

"Hagit namo karon kay Duterte, kadungan sa iyang pronouncement nga pahawa-on ang US troops, dapat i-terminate na niya ang mga 1 sided nga mga treaties with the US. (Our challenge to Duterte, along with his pronouncement of removing the US troops, is to terminate the one sided treaties with US.) Labaw na ang Mutual Defense Treaty, Visiting Forces Agreement ug ang gipirmahan sa mi-aging rehimen nga Edca, " he adds.

Chenfoo said a march rally will be done this September 16 to protest Edca.

But Malacanang on Tuesday maintained that the Philippines will remain an ally of the United States (US), despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that the US troops must leave Mindanao.

“We’re not turning back on anybody. We are just charting an independent course. Less dependent on American, perhaps,” Abella told reporters.

Abella’s statement came after Duterte told the US military to exit Mindanao due to security threats.

On Monday, the President said that Americans’ presence in the region may attract Abu Sayyaf bandits.

“The [US] special forces, they have to go. They have to go. In Mindanao, there are many white [Americans] there. They have to go,” Duterte said.

“[The situation will be] more aggravated. An American will be killed if he is noticed [by Abu Sayyaf]. [The bandits] will ask for ransom [and will soon] kill [the hostage], even if you’re a black or a white American,” he added.

Abella clarified that the President only wanted the Americans to get out of Mindanao as "their lives are in danger" there as "they would be kidnapped [and] shot."

Abella said Duterte is yet to issue a specific directive as to when the US troops should leave Mindanao, the Palace official said.

“There is no specific directive as to how this pronouncement will be effected… It is not policy yet. It is not policy. In other words, nobody acted on it yet.”

“In other words, if you’re asking if there’s a timeline, there’s no such thing as that like now. There’s no such thing as, 'Okay, by August 15 or by September 15, [you have to leave],'” he added. (With a report from Sunnex)
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