September 9, 2009
For Immediate Release
Reference: Katrina Abarcar, Katarungan: Center for Peace, Justice and Human Rights in the Philippines, email@example.com
For Katarungan, Defense Secretary Teodoro’s US visit represents a continuation of the harmful trajectory that President Arroyo has set in motion during her time as head of the Philippine nation.
“As part of President Arroyo’s Cabinet and inner circle, he cannot be separated from the massive corruption, human rights abuses, mismanagement of the country’s economy, and the selling of Philippine sovereignty that have been central to the Arroyo administration,” said Katrina Abarcar, Coordinator of Katarungan. “As a May 2010 Presidential aspirant, Filipinos living in the US and all US taxpayers who help support the Philippines through aid need to be aware of this.”
For members of Katarungan who were cautiously hopeful after the outcome of last year’s charged US elections, they are anxious about the outcome of Teodoro’s visit.
“We expect this to be the latest of several significant developments that have been a disappointment, from the March telephone call of President Obama to President Arroyo affirming commitment to the Visiting Forces Agreement, to the State Visit of Arroyo to the US where the Philippines was designated coordinating country between the US and ASEAN, to US Defense Secretary Gate’s arbitrary decision reported by the New York Times in August to keep an elite 600 special operations troops for counter insurgency deployed in the Philippines,” said Dr. Dante Simbulan, Adviser to Katarungan.
“For Teodoro and the Arroyo administration to agree to the permanent stationing of US troops in the Philippines, despite it being unconstitutional and unpopular with Filipinos themselves, it is an insult to those who have struggled for hundreds of years for true sovereignty and freedom. I wonder what price the corrupt regime accepted from the US in exchange for the stationing of troops,” continued Dr. Simbulan.
“And for the Obama administration to happily exploit this weakness and willingness of Philippine leaders to put their personal interests and ambitions, and the desires of foreign nations above their own people, it goes against the promise to change the foreign policy of intervention in favor of a ‘new beginning.’ Can you truly call this a ‘partnership’ when the outcomes strongly favor one side,” ended Dr. Simbulan.
Since President Obama came to power in January, Katarungan has asked that the current US administration re-think financial and political support for the Arroyo administration based on Obama’s statements in support of human rights and transparency—areas for which the Arroyo administration has shown little respect. Unfortunately, with regards to the Philippines so far, the proclamations about human rights and transparency have rung hollow. ###
(Photo of Ambassador Gaa and Defense Secretary Teodoro from www.philippineembassy-usa.org/)