Group tells US: Withdraw military presence from West Philippine Sea

The group Makabansang Alyansa (Makabansa) on Sunday called on the United States to withdraw its military presence in the West Philippine Sea and the disputed waters of the South China Sea and allow the Philippines “to pursue a sovereign and non-aligned foreign policy” in the waterway.

Anti-US protest
Members of the group Makabansang Alyansa burn tarpaulins on Saturday to demonstrate their call for the United States to get out of the West Philippine Sea and the disputed waters of the South China Sea and allow the Philippines 'to pursue a sovereign and non-aligned foreign policy' in the waterway. The group staged a lightning rally at the US Embassy in Manila on Labor Day and called on the US government to withdraw its military presence in the WPS and SCS.

Members of Makabansa trooped to the US Embassy in Manila for a lighting rally on Labor Day following their Opening Congress in Tondo, Manila to voice their objections to the American presence in the disputed waterway, which is claimed by China, the Philippines, and several other countries.

“To lessen tension between claimants, a country with no territorial claims should withdraw from (the WPS),” said Roperto “Bing” Nambio, Makabansa spokesman.

“In the case of the Philippines, bilateral talks between claimant China and our country should be pursued. Multilateral and third-party countries who have no territorial claims should never be entertained,” the group’s statement added.

Makabansa views the US naval presence in the WPS “as a form of imperialist intervention and aggression and intimidation to flex its military and economic interest beyond its territorial waters.”

“We should never invoke the US in any way in the negotiation and talks in the West Philippine Sea. It’s the vital interest of the US and not of the Philippines that is being pursued by them (Americans),” the group added.

Diplomatic solutions and negotiations “are the key elements in resolving the WPS crisis,” they said, as the use of military force “and even show of force is detrimental to the attainment of peace.”

Anti-US protest

Makabansa also urged President Rodrigo Duterte to “permanently junk” the Visiting Forces Agreement “and other military treaties like EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) that uses the Philippines as a base for the US military.”

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