From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 8): Bayan denounces US planned airstrike in Mindanao
The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) denounced on Tuesday the possibility of the United States (US) military to conduct airstrikes in the Philippines to wipe out groups sympathizing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Marawi City.
“Bayan opposes in the strongest terms US plans to conduct airstrikes in the Philippines against ISIS-linked groups. There can be no justification for allowing a foreign superpower with the world’s worst rights record to be conducting airstrikes on Philippine soil,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said in a statement.
According to an NBC News report quoting officials on Monday, “the authority to strike ISIS targets as part of (a) collective self-defense could be granted as part of an official military operation that may be named as early as Tuesday. The strikes would likely be conducted by armed drones.”
The international report also cited Pentagon spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis’s statement that US military has been sharing intelligence with the Philippines for years, calling it a “steady state.”
“We have had a consistent CT (counter terror) presence in the Philippines for 15 years now,” Davis said.
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However, Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo reportedly said that the matter had not been discussed by the two countries according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
Meanwhile, Reyes accused US of making the Philippines another Syria or Somalia, where US-sanctioned airstrikes against Al Qaeda and ISIS resulted to huge civilian casualties.
The activist added that the plan is also a threat against Philippine’s sovereignty.
“The airstrikes will violate our national sovereignty and will run counter to the constitutional ban on foreign troops participating in combat operations in the Philippines,” Reyes said in a statement.
“There is a concerted effort now on the part of several US agencies to push for an extended US role in the fight against ISIS, using the conflict as a pretext for permanent US basing and power-projection in Southeast Asia,” he added.
Reyes further warned that the move may potentially result to a US-led operation in Mindanao similar to the Operation Enduring Freedom Philippines, a special military operation to help fight Abu Sayyaf group and other rebels in the southern island from 2002 to 2015.
The Bayan spokesman also hinted that this may be the highlight of the Philippine visit of US President Donald Trump slated in November