Press Statement
February 4, 2015

Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN USA, chair@bayanusa.org

On Phil-Am War Anniversary, Fil-Ams Join Clamor for Aquino to Resign
Demand Truth & Accountability over US involvement in Mamasapano Massacre

Filipino-Americans under the banner of BAYAN USA join the growing clamor for President Benigno Aquino III to resign amidst outrage unfolding in the Philippines over the US-backed, Philippine anti-terrorism operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25. The operation resulted in the senseless deaths of over 64 clashing forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Bangasamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the Special Action Forces of the Philippine National Police (SAF-PNP), and a number of civilians caught in the 12-hour crossfire. With Malacanang's lack of transparency over the operation, the SAF-PNP itself is pointing fingers at Aquino for not only calling the shots, but intentionally breaking protocol by violating the PNP's line of command, not coordinating with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, violating the supposed GPH-MILF ceasefire agreement, and involving US military personnel.

As today marks the 116th anniversary of the Philippine-American War, the first US imperialist war of aggression for colonization abroad, BAYAN USA asserts that the Mamasapano Massacre highlights the deadly ongoing aggression of present-day US intervention in the Philippines, especially in Muslim Mindanao. The US government with the assistance of the Philippine government, under the rhetoric of the global war on terror, has long been waging a campaign to seize and control the vast natural wealth of Muslim Mindanao by subjugating and undermining the Bangsamoro people through counter-insurgency and all-out war tactics. Part and parcel to this are the US government's decade-old drone program in Mindanao as well as pacification campaign under the guise of so-called peace talks between the Aquino government and the MILF. Since the time of the Philippine-American War, the Bangsamoro people have and continue to fight for their self-determination and right to their ancestral domain. 

One of the largest targets for multinational corporate extractive industries in the Asia-Pacific region, Mindanao is home to a wide array of minerals, oil, natural gas, and agriculture. Mindanao is also where US intervention is most heavily concentrated in the country-- in the form of US military presence, US military facilities, US-backed counter-insurgency, and covert CIA operations. Maintaining the Philippines as a US military stranglehold remains critical to US imperialism's 116 year old geopolitical strategy of hegemony over the Asia-Pacific region, of which the new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) is a part. 

BAYAN USA joins the call for an independent investigation of the massacre at Mamasapano. We demand truth and accountability from both the Aquino and Obama administrations. As US taxpayers, we call for full disclosure of the facts surrounding US military involvement, as well as US withdrawal from the Philippines. We demand Aquino, as a puppet of the US government, resign from his post or face anger from the broad ranks of Filipinos fed up with his failed leadership.

In this time of increasing militarism in the US and the Asia-Pacific region, we call for greater solidarity between the peoples of the Philippines and the United States. We are concerned that the unrest in Mindanao coupled with unrelenting Islamophobia and anti-terrorism hysteria will be used as a pretext for a declaration of all-out war by the Aquino regime backed by the US government. We stand with the Bangsmoro people in their struggle for self-determination and with the greater Filipino nation in its struggle for peace, justice, democracy, and genuine national sovereignty-- ideals which the Aquino regime continues to steer the country away from. 

AQUINO RESIGN!
Justice for the Victims of the Mamasapano Massacre!
Self-Determination for the Bangsamoro People!
US Out of Mindanao!
US Out of the Philippines!
US Out of Asia!
Long Live International Solidarity!

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BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 18 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing youth, students, women, workers, artists, and human rights advocates. As the oldest and largest overseas chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S. For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org.