Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Manila's lies and cover up on US military aid, human rights record

Nov. 7, 2007

Reference: Berna Ellorin, Secretary-General, BAYAN USA, email:

Manila's lies and cover up on US military aid, human rights record

BAYAN USA strongly condemns the Arroyo government's latest lies and
act of cover-up on US military aid.

The Arroyo government is lying to the public by claiming that it will
get $30 million in US military aid, up from $11-million this year.
Malacanang is obviously doing a media blitz based on a US Senate
proposal approved two months ago -- a proposal which is not yet even

In fact, the US House version only allots $23-million in military aid
for the entire East Asia and Pacific region.

With both Congressional bodies yet to reconcile their differing versions
of the budget bills, it thus remains uncertain whether the Arroyo government
will get the $30-million that Philippine officials have bandied about.

BAYAN USA has been linked to broad overseas opposition efforts to
lobby US legislators in order to prevent US public funds from going to death
squads in the Philippines or misused as endorsement of a government
accused of abetting extrajudicial executions.

We likewise deplore the Arroyo government's attempts to airbrushing
its record as a human rights violator. Malacanang is desperately
trying to conceal the adoption by the US Senate of "restrictive
language" or preconditions to the $2-million in additional military
aid to the Philippines.

The "restrictive language" means that the Arroyo government's human
rights record is now under closer scrutiny by the US Senate, an outcome
of strong legislative advocacy coupled with a stronger mass movement
outside of Congressional halls.

We urge US Congress to implement stricter monitoring on the
compliance by the Arroyo government on the three preconditions adopted
by the Senate, which now includes "a policy of promoting military personnel
who demonstrate professionalism and respect for human rights, and
investigating and prosecuting military personnel and others who have been
credibly alleged to have committed extrajudicial executions or other
violations of human rights."

Without the outlining of a strict and tight mechanism for monitoring, the
Philippine government will make many more attempts to twist the facts
and spin new media stories to its favor. After all, even the US government
has a long history of funding overseas dictatorships. The Philippines
remains a strategic location for the Bush administration's plan to expand
the War on Terror into Asia.

Perhaps the ongoing media blitz seeks to cover up the failure of
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita's feeble attempt to dampen the
impact of UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston's damning report and to
conceal the undeniable fact that no one has ever been convicted for
the nearly 900 extrajudicial executions under Arroyo's watch. ###