The Communist Party of the Philippines on Sunday warned the Philippines can get caught between the US and China should a war break out between the two superpowers, after expanding America’s access to four more military sites in the country under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and restarting joint patrols in the South China Sea.
“In doing so, (President Ferdinand) Marcos Jr. is more and more allowing the Philippines to be used by the US as a launching pad for its provocations against China. He is practically allowing the imperialist US to drag the Philippines into a war against its own interest,” CPP Chief Information Officer Marco Valbuena said in a statement.
He said the agreements reached during last week’s visit of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III were “part of the US government’s continuing strategy of preparing the war theater against China.”
Austin earlier said the joint maritime patrols in the South China Sea aimed to “help address (security) challenges.”
Valbuena said the Philippines should continue to prevent a potential war from breaking out between the US and China.
“The Filipino people, together with peoples of Asia and the world, must continue to demand a stop to imperialist war mongering and an end to war preparations especially by the US,” he said.
“They must demand the dismantling of all US military bases and call for the removal of US and other foreign military troops in the country, as well as the dismantling of Chinese military facilities within its maritime territory,” Valbuena added.
For his part, Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Sunday thanked senators backing the designation of four new sites under EDCA and the continuation of joint sea patrols.
“I thank our lawmakers for expressing their support for EDCA and the resumption of joint Philippine-US maritime patrols. It is truly encouraging that our distinguished senators are aware of the importance of EDCA and joint maritime patrols to our national interest. I thank them again for their support,” Galvez said.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada on Sunday expressed confidence that the government has thoroughly studied and weighed all possible repercussions of the EDCA expansion.
He added the EDCA was “not directed toward any country” after China cautioned the Philippines against allowing itself to be dragged into troubled waters by the US.
“EDCA aims to boost our AFP’s defense capabilities in asserting regional territorial claims. EDCA sites are also primarily earmarked for humanitarian assistance and disaster response facilities…
Therefore, it’s not directed toward any country,” he added.