Protests in the Philippines Against the Visiting Forces Agreement

June 1, 2009

On May 27, tens of thousands of Filipinos took to the streets for demonstrations demanding the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) - a bilateral military agreement signed by the U.S. and Philippine governments in 1999. Demonstrations took place outside the U.S. embassy in Manila and in areas where U.S. troops have conducted military exercises, including Bicol, Cebyu, Davao, Panay, and Central Luzon.

The VFA provides a legal basis for the presence of U.S. military forces in the Philippines and is a violation of Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity. In addition to permitting joint military exercises and activities between the U.S. and Philippine armed forces, the agreement provides U.S. military and civilian personnel special privileges and unhampered access to the country.

The Visiting Forces Agreement enables the U.S. armed forces to use the country as a staging area for wars of aggression throughout the region and is part of U.S. militarization of the entire East Asia/Pacific region. U.S. use of the Philippines as a strategic military outpost only brings about more danger and instability to the people of Asia. The on-going struggle against the VFA is an important part of the worldwide struggle against U.S. imperialism.