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Philippine women group condemns joint Philippine, U.S. military drills

A progressive women’s group in the Philippines, GABRIELA, on Sunday strongly condemned the annual joint military exercise between the Philippines and the United States scheduled next month.

GABRIELA Secretary-General Clarice Palce demanded the expulsion of all U.S. troops from the Philippines and the immediate termination of military agreements such as the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United States.

History has shown that the U.S. bases and EDCA sites “pose a grave threat to the safety, welfare, and rights of Filipinos, particularly women and children,” Palce warned.

Palce added that increased military activities and the presence of foreign troops in the Philippines led to “the proliferation of militarized prostitution.”

At least 11,000 American and 5,000 Philippine troops are expected to participate in this year’s Balikatan exercises, which will kick off on April 22 and run until May 8.

“The Balikatan exercises blatantly disregard the Philippines’ national sovereignty by effectively transforming the country into a huge U.S. base with unrestricted movement of American troops,” Palce said.

Source: CGTN