By D’Jay Lazaro
A militant youth group staged a protest rally outside a Manila hotel today to protest against a visit by US deputy trade representative Demetrius Marantis.
He is in the country for talks on proposals to increase US military presence in the country, including deployment of more soldiers and personnel for joint defense and training exercises.
His visit follows last month’s “Manila Declaration” in which the US and the Philippines agreed to reinforce “the significance of our mutual defense treaty as the basis for the alliance and the treaty’s continued relevance to the peace, security, and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific [region].”
Vencer Crisostomo of the Anakbayan youth group said the protest was to send a message to the US that “they are not welcome” in the country.
“The Filipino people have had enough of US abuse and intervention in the country. Plans for the increase of US troops and the return of US bases will be opposed vehemently by different sectors,” he said.
Crisostomo added the US is merely using the Philippines’ conflict with China as an excuse for US military deployment in the region.
“The Filipino people must be vigilant and must fight increased US imperialist intervention and oppression. We cannot allow the further rape of our women and sovereignty. We cannot allow further exploitation of our people,” said Crisostomo.