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Activists to protest during Clinton visit.

Manila Activist groups have vowed to hold demonstrations against security relations between the United States and the Philippines when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits the country on Tuesday.

The left-wing activist umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance) said protests will greet Clinton when she visits the Philippines next week.

According to reports, Clinton will be in Manila on Tuesday to take part in ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the Philippines-US Mutual Defence Treaty.

The MDT, which was signed on August 30, 1951, formally forged the mutual commitment between the Philippines and the United States to come to each other's defence against external armed attack.

Lasting testament

"There is no reason to celebrate 60 years of the Cold War relic that is the MDT. This agreement is a lasting testament to the unequal and one-sided ties that bind our two countries. This pact has no value for national security and sovereignty. We are better off without it," said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, Jr.

A later similar agreement, the Visiting Forces Agreement, signed between Manila and Washington in the aftermath of the withdrawal of US military bases in the Philippines in 1999, provides parameters for joint security exercises between the two countries.

"Aside from the MDT, the VFA should also be scrapped as it has been used not just for brief visits but also for the permanent stationing of US troops in the Philippines. Reyes said the MDT and the VFA hardly signifies a relationship between co-equals, but rather between a post-colonial arrangement between a super power and a country unable to develop its own resources for defence.

"The Aquino government should stand up for sovereignty and do away with mendicancy in its foreign relations," Reyes added.

Bayan said it expects the MDT anniversary will be used by the government of President Benigno Aquino to drum up US support for the Philippines and its claims on the Spratlys.

The Spratlys is a resource-rich group of islands in the Western Philippine Sea claimed by China and several other neighbouring countries.

"Mutuality and reciprocity are the biggest myths fostered by the MDT and the VFA. These instruments are in place primarily to secure support for US hegemonic interests in the region and not for anything else. The PH government should wake up from the pipe dream that we are treated as equals and with respect by the US," he added.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Nov 12, 2011
Words:420
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