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04 July, 2017

US military’s anti-terror efforts in the Philippines fueling human rights violations

U.S. forces have teamed up with the Philippines’ military to combat terrorist groups in the country, ostensibly to bring about peace. But numerous human rights violations have sprung up in their wake and some believe that the U.S.’ ultimate goal may be to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

by Joe Catron

Part 2 - Philippine military “…the most reactionary and pro-U.S. government institution…”

The GRP, led by President Rodrigo Duterte, did not invite the U.S. presence in Marawi. In fact, Duterte had ejected U.S. special forces from the same region nine months earlier. Their return apparently came at the invitation of the AFP.

Speaking at a press conference in the city of Cagayan de Oro on June 12 – one day after U.S. participation in the battle began – Duterte said he had “never approached America” for assistance and “not aware of that until they arrived,” adding “our soldiers are pro-American, that I cannot deny.

The AFP’s founding by the U.S., as well as the decades of training and other assistance it has received from America, make it uniquely pro-American in a country where Duterte’s anti-U.S. broadsides have won broad public approval.

The AFP is the most reactionary and pro-U.S. government institution in the Philippines,” Ellorin said. “It was established in the early 20th century during the U.S. colonial period by the U.S. colonial government as the Philippine Constabulary, whose purpose was and remains to maintain U.S. control over the country and suppress anti-colonial rebellion.

Many are worried about the fresh support that the AFP is receiving from the U.S., as well as its apparent ability to create its own foreign policy independent of the GRP.

U.S. intervention has emboldened a Philippine military that is notorious for its human rights record,” said human rights attorney Azadeh Shahshahani, a member of the global council of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines.

The aerial bombing is hurting civilians more than Maute, and we have also heard reports from a humanitarian fact-finding mission that civilians were hurt by artillery shelling directly from a military camp occupied by the U.S.,” Shahshahani said.

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