National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno urged President Rodrigo Duterte to put into writing his consistent statements against the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and the US-RP Balikatan Exercises.
“We support President Duterte’s assertion against EDCA and to end the US-RP Balikatan Exercises. It has long been a demand of Filipino workers to end these unequal treaties that allows the US and other foreign powers to violate our sovereignty and meddle with internal affairs” KMU chairperson Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog said.
In a protest at the US embassy in time for the opening of the US-RP Balikatan Exercises in Subic, the KMU called on President Duterte to immediately issue an executive order terminating the EDCA which workers claim allows increased deployment and permanent basing of US troops in the country.
“The President can immediately junk the EDCA as it is mere executive agreement entered by the previous US lackey Aquino government. EDCA has allowed the US to re-occupy the Philippines by increased troop deployment and establishment of their permanent bases in the country” Labog said.
The labor leader meanwhile condemned National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay for contradicting the Presidents’ assertion to end the Balikatan Exercises calling Esperon and Yasay’s statements as a “shameless revision” of Duterte’s patriotic stance.
“It is alarming that some officials in the Duterte administration is singing a different tune from the President. To avoid defiance by pro-US officials in his administration, Duterte should turn his assertion of an independent foreign policy into concrete and written declarations” Labog said.
KMU assured Duterte that Filipino workers are willing to support his assertion of an independent foreign policy against pro-US oligarchs and officials from outside and within his administration.
“The US will use all its power to undermine Duterte’s assertion of an independent foreign policy. Pro-US elements are deeply embedded in institutions outside and even within his administration. If Duterte cannot get support from his officials, we assure him that Filipino workers are willing to back his assertion of our sovereignty against US and other foreign intervention once he has turned it into actual, concrete and written policies” Labog said.
Labog however insisted that the President’s assertion of an independent foreign policy should also be reflected in the administrations’ economic agenda and should be aimed at promoting workers’ rights and welfare against US-dictated neoliberal economic policies.
“Duterte’s foreign policy shift should also be aimed at rejecting US-dictated economic policies of promoting cheap, contractual and docile labor by implementing a National Minimum Wage and ending contractualization. In the long run, Duterte should adopt National Industrialization and genuine land reform as an economic policy to promote an independent, pro-people and developed national economy” said Labog.