Communist party urges Duterte to order all US forces to leave
Rosette Adel ( - September 14, 2016 - 3:46pm

MANILA, Philippines – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Tuesday welcomed the recent pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte to pullout American troops in Mindanao and called on the president to remove all US forces in the country.

“The CPP calls on the Duterte regime to follow through the declaration with actual political and diplomatic measures to effect the removal of US troops,” CPP said in a statement.

“In line with his government’s declaration of pursuing an independent foreign policy, the CPP urges the Duterte government to pursue the removal of all US troops not only in Mindanao. There are US Special Forces, Army and naval troops operating across the entire country,” the statement read.

On Monday, Duterte blamed the US for the conflict and security threats in Mindanao. He then said American troops should leave Mindanao.

Duterte also said he will not allow Philippine forces to conduct joint patrols with the US in disputed areas that are within the country's Exclusive Economic Zone. This, despite the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement deal, which his predecessor reached with the US military in 2014.

CPP hailed Duterte’s move saying his pronouncement comes at a “most propitious” time as the Filipino is set to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the end of the Military Bases Agreement.

READ: Duterte rejects joint patrols, eyes China weapons

There are US troops at the Western Mindanao Command headquarters in Zamboanga City. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday that the US troops provide intelligence assistance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and usually just stay in camp.

The CPP said that there are also US military troops and advisers operating inside AFP camps in the Cagayan Valley, Bicol, Samar, Panay, and Negros. The communist party, which has restarted peace talks with the government, said that US troops also rotate through Clark Air Base, Subic Naval Base and Villamor Air Base.

The CPP lamented the presence of US military personnel, Federal Bureau of Investigation and New York Police Department personnel inside the AFP’s Camp Aguinaldo and Philippine National Police’s Camp Crame, respectively. The party said the presence of American advisers shows “gross lack of national dignity.”

“The [Government of the Republic of the Philippines] president must also investigate and demand a clear and complete accounting of all clandestine operations carried out in Sulu, the rest of Mindanao as well as other parts of the country,” the CPP said.

The CPP said only Duterte is the only leader who can build mutual relations with China and other countries by making the country independent and non-aligned. 

“He must abrogate the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951, the Mutual Logistics Service Agreement (MLSA), the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the EDCA,” CPP said.

READ: Philippines not cutting ties with US - Duterte

“Only then can the Philippines stand on solid ground to demand equality and respect,” the statement concluded.

In a speech Tuesday, Duterte said that the Philippines will not "cut the umbilical cord" with its allies but said that the Philippines will maintain an "independent foreign policy".

Last week, Duterte also insisted he is not a lapdog of the US and said he will refuse to bow down to US President Barack Obama on the issue of extrajudicial killings.

The US as well as the United Nations have raised concerns over the government's war on drugs, where more than 2,000 have died in police operations and in drug-related killings.

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