P O Box 606, Laverton 3028, Australia
Contacts: George – 0413 041514(VIC); Mel – 0414 247154(WA); Manny – 0404 105899(NSW) Lina – 0407 841010(NSW); Berlin – 0499 303911(Albury-Wodonga); Steph – 0422 171969(VIC)
Statement on Australian Intervention in the Philippines
Build peace! Stop military aid to the Duterte government!
Australia did it again! It just keeps on milking the Marawi situation in the Philippines to stamp its mark as a junior regional imperialist power in Asia-Pacific. On 23 June 2017 Australia offered to deploy two P-3 Orion military surveillance aircrafts. These two P-3 Orion military surveillance aircrafts are now having regular flying sorties across the Sulu and Mindanao Seas to help gather intelligence for the Philippine military.
Then the Australian government has recently offered to send ADF (Australian Defense Force) soldiers on a train-and-assist mission to Marawi. Ironically, this offer was made just as the Philippines’ military is preparing for its last “big fight” to flush out as few as 40 surviving Islamic State-affiliated militants (Maute group) in Marawi.
Australia’s latest offer – which for sure will be taken up gratefully by the Philippine government – is akin to the assistance it is extending to Iraq i.e. 300 troops and 80 commandos involved in training, advising and assisting Iraqi government forces. According to Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne, the fighting in Marawi City “is a direct threat to Australia and our interests”. Australia must be feeling so threatened that an Iraq-style “advise, assist and train” military support was offered by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to Philippine President Duterte. This will involve more than just Australian equipment or expertise i.e. Australian military personnel will be on the ground.
The ongoing war in Marawi has already claimed the lives of almost 800 people (613 militants killed, 130 soldiers and 45 civilians) and displaced over 350,000 civilians. Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ has claimed more than 10,000 lives which include many young people as young as eight years old. The militarisation and the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao and Duterte’s commendation to his military killing machines has already claimed more than 70 political killings, 1,000 illegal arrests, 420,000 people displaced, many residents subjected to indiscriminate gunfire and aerial bombardment and many other human rights violations. These activities are being justified by Duterte’s war hogging military officials under the veil of ‘national security’.
Australia is contributing to the increasing body count in the Philippine conflict not only with the Maute group but also with other groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and most especially the revolutionary armed forces, the New People’s Army (NPA) who according to the Philippines National Defence Chief Delfin Lorenzana is another target of the Martial Law declaration.
Sadly as in Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ anyone could be tagged by the military as NPA and be subjected to all kinds of abuses and extra judicial killing. With the ongoing civil conflict in the Philippines, foreign military support and the presence of any foreign military personnel do not only violate the Philippine sovereignty but also an attack to the Filipino people’s struggle for national liberation, democracy and just and lasting peace. No peace-loving Australian should put up with using tax payers money in this type of military cooperation.
Migrante Australia opposes the Australian government’s military support to the Duterte government, a regime widely known for continues indiscriminate killings and human rights violations.