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Republic of the Philippines HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TWELFTH CONGRESS Second Regular Session

H O U S E R E S O L U T I O N N o . 728 ________________________________________________________________________________ Introduced by Reps. SATUR C. OCAMPO, CRISPIN B. BELTRAN, LIZA L. MAZA, CARLOS M. PADILLA, DIDAGEN P. DILANGALEN, TED FAILON, ERNIE D. CLARETE, OSCAR S. MORENO

__________________________________________________________________________________ RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE HOUSE COMMITTEES ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS, NATIONAL DEFENSE AND CIVIL, POLITICAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS, IN LINE WITH THE EXERCISE OF THE OVERSIGHT POWERS OF CONGRESS, TO UNDERTAKE A REVIEW AND ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TERMS OF REFERENCE GOVERNING THE RECENTLY CONCLUDED BALIKATAN JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES, INCLUDING THE TRUE EXTENT AND NATURE AND HUMAN RIGHTS IMPLICATIONS OF SUCH EXERCISES, AND TO MAKE AN INQUIRY INTO THE LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL BASIS OF THE CONTINUED PRESENCE OF U.S. MILITARY FORCES IN THE COUNTRY EVEN AFTER THE TERMINATION OF SAID EXERCISES ON JULY 31, 2002 AND TO THEREAFTER PROVIDE THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES A REPORT OF ITS FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS WHICH ARE NEEDED TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE WITH CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES TO UPHOLD NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY AND HUMAN RIGHTS WHEREAS Article XVIII, Section 25 of the 1987 Constitution provides that: “After the expiration of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning military bases, foreign military bases, troops or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate, and when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.” WHEREAS Article II, Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution provides that “the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and no other, is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the state and the integrity of the national territory.” WHEREAS the Republic of the Philippines-United States (RP-US) Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) of 1951 provides only for joint military actions and training exercises for defending the Philippines from external aggression, likewise with the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) of 1999 which derives its mandate from the MDT; WHEREAS US military advisers arrived in the Philippines soon after the 9-11 terrorist attacks to assess the status of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) military operations against the bandit Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and to recommend possible US involvement; WHEREAS as a result, the Balikatan 02-1 “exercises” were conducted from January 31 to July 31, 2002 where 1,650 US troops and Special Operations Forces (SOFs) “trained” 4,000 Philippine troops in military camps and during actual combat operations against the ASG, amidst widespread controversy as to their nature, constitutionality and human rights implications; WHEREAS US troops spokesperson Maj. Richard Sater announced that 160 US SOF troops will remain in Basilan even after the end of the Balikatan 02-1 “exercises” until October 2002 with 900 more soldiers to be stationed in Zamboanga and Cebu, both of which are for still undisclosed reasons and neither of which are covered by any Terms of Reference (TOR);


WHEREAS AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Roy Cimatu said that an undetermined number of US military advisers will spend nine more months in Luzon and Mindanao for the next round of “counter-terrorism” operations starting in October, and US Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Command Adm. Thomas Fargo said that a “Long-term Security Assistance Plan” involving an undetermined number of US troops would begin in October; WHEREAS the US used Philippine facilities for transit, refueling, resupply, and staging operations in its war of aggression against Afghanistan that started in September last year, providing “highly valuable” assistance as acknowledged by Admiral Fargo; WHEREAS RP and US military doctrines clearly state that “training exercises” are not conducted in actual battle zones, against real enemy forces and using live ammunition; WHEREAS any participation of US troops in domestic offensive military operations in whatever capacity, whether in combat (offensive or defensive operations), combat support (intelligence, communications, engineering) or combat service support (training, logistics, medical, civic action) constitutes interference in the Philippines’ internal security affairs; WHEREAS the declared enemies of the US against whom it wages war are neither automatically nor necessarily the enemies of the Philippines; WHEREAS there is a need to ascertain the true extent and nature of the US forces’ presence in the Philippines especially since September 2001 and the US’ self-declared “war against terrorism” to inform judgments on compliance with the 1987 Constitution and, indeed, the Mutual Defense Treaty, Visiting Forces Agreement and Balikatan 02-1 Terms of Reference; WHEREAS these facts are of the greatest relevance in ascertaining the Constitutional implications of such agreements on the proposed Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement (MLSA) being secretly negotiated between the Macapagal-Arroyo administration and the US; WHEREAS effective public oversight of adherence to human rights and international humanitarian law obligations requires scrutiny of all relevant aspects of Balikatan 02-01 and other exercises like it, to be able to effectively monitor if the skills and war materiel provided are used in subsequent violations of human rights, WHEREAS full transparency is necessary to protect the primordial national interest and ensure compliance with fundamental constitutional principles; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES to direct the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and on National Defense, in line with the exercise of the oversight powers of Congress, to undertake a review and assessment of the implementation of the Terms of Reference governing the recently concluded Balikatan joint military exercises, including the true extent and nature of such exercises, RESOLVED FURTHER that the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and on National Defense make an inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the legal and constitutional basis of the continued presence of US military forces in the country even after the termination of the Balikatan joint exercises on July 31, 2002; RESOLVED FURTHERMORE that the House Committees on Civil, Political and Human Rights and on National Defense conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, into the implementation of Balikatan 02-01 to determine the extent and human rights implications of the “training” given by the US Special Operations Forces (SOF); RESOLVED FINALLY that all three House Committees thereafter provide the House of Representatives a report of their findings and recommendations which are needed to ensure compliance with constitutional guarantees to uphold national sovereignty and defend human rights. Adopted,

SATUR C. OCAMPO

CRISPIN B. BELTRAN

LIZA L. MAZA


Bayan Muna–Party-List

Bayan Muna–Party-List

CARLOS M. PADILLA Nueva Vizcaya, LD

Bayan Muna–Party-List

DIDAGEN P. DILANGALEN Maguindanao with Cotabato City, 1D

TED FAILON

ERNIE D. CLARETE

Leyte, 1D

Misamis Occidental, 1D

OSCAR S. MORENO Misamis Oriental, 1D

HR 728 - Cont'd US troops presence  

Introduced by Reps. SATUR C. OCAMPO, CRISPIN B. BELTRAN, LIZA L. MAZA, CARLOS M. PADILLA, DIDAGEN P. DILANGALEN, TED FAILON, ERNIE D. CLARET...

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