Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 12:54:36 +0800
Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@LIST.MSU.EDU>
From: Steve Graw <smg7@CORNELL.EDU>
Organization: Development Sociology, Cornell University
Subject: FWD:PH: Protests against St Secty Albright's Manila visit

Activists to hound US State Secretary with protests

Philippine Daily Inquirer, 27 July 1998

MILITANT groups yesterday said they would hound US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright with protests to oppose a proposed agreement allowing the resumption of joint military exercises between the Philippines and the United States.

Albright is scheduled to arrive in Manila today to attend the Asean Regional Forum on security issues tomorrow with Southeast Asian foreign ministers and counterparts from Asean's key security and trade partners.

Washington's top diplomat is also scheduled to hold several bilateral discussions as well as call on President Estrada as part of the annual foreign ministers' meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

We will hold protests at the airport and the Manila Hotel, a spokeswoman for the militant trade union Kilusang Mayo Uno told AFP, referring to the hotel where the meetings were to be held.

Clemencio Montesa, chief of the American affairs desk at the Philippine foreign ministry, yesterday said a focus of the bilateral talks with Albright would be the proposed Visiting Forces Agreement between the two countries.

Approval of the agreement by the Philippine Senate would pave the way for the resumption of joint military exercises suspended in 1996 and would give teeth to a mutual defense treaty that calls on Manila and Washington to aid each other in times of war.

The VFA provides a legal framework for dealing with US troops who commit crimes while in the country for the war games.

Several senators have said they would vote against the agreement, because of concerns that US forces could bring in nuclear weapons during the exercises in violation of a ban on such armaments in the Philippine Constitution.

US officials have said they were not seeking to reestablish military bases in the Philippines.

Some 100 demonstrators belonging to the KMU, Gabriela, League of Filipino Students and Kilusan Para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD) picketed the US Embassy yesterday to protest the VFA.

The Filipino people fought to get the American bases out in 1991. We're not going to let them get back in again through some cleverly designed, bogus mutual-benefit military agreement, KMU chair Crispin Beltran said in a statement.

In its own statement, the KPD denounced US Ambassador Thomas Hubbard, saying he had no right to interfere in a purely internal matter between the Filipino people and the Estrada administration.

Hubbard was earlier quoted as saying that more Filipinos were in favor of the VFA.

The KPD also said it would make sure that Albright gets (its) message that the VFA will never be all right to (Filipinos).

In 1991, the Philippine Senate voted for the ejection of US troops from strategic air and naval bases in the country. The last American troops left in 1992, ending nearly a century of US military presence in its former colony.

Mr. Estrada, who as a senator was among those who voted for the expulsion, said in a keynote speech before the Asean here on Friday that Manila would seek to strengthen ties with the United States. With an AFP report