With the recent Sulu kidnapping on the agenda of President Arroyo’s meeting with US President George Bush, Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Largoza Maza warned against using the incident as a pretext for increased US military presence in the country.
“US military presence and intervention will not resolve kidnap for ransom incidents in Mindanao just as it has not resolved the presence of armed groups, criminal activities and even insurgency. On the other hand, with the growing anti-US sentiment of Mindanaoans, increased US military presence can even breed further unrest in the already war-torn island,” said Maza.
According to Maza, “While President Arroyo remains very much interested, if not desperate in having the US government support her continued stay in Malacanang, there is no doubt that despite protests, she will cede to the US government’s intent in keeping military presence as a forward base in the Asia Pacific region. And with the recent kidnapping of Ces Drilon and her crew, even volunteer this unfortunate incident as a convenient excuse.”
The Gabriela solon reiterated that aside from reported incidents of sex trafficiking and prostitution in areas near US military installations, there have been too many unresolved incidents of human rights violations in Mindanao resulting from the intervention of US troops. The massacre in Maimbung, Sulu was reportedly carried out by joint US and Filipino forces, with the raid supposedly led by the Philippine Navy Special Warfare group. #