The military base of the US Joint Special Operations Task Force - Philippines (JSOTF-P) inside Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City. Caption/Photo Release From Citizens' Peace Watch
In a press release, the Citizens' Peace Watch, a group formed to monitor what it fears as the growing and permanent US military presence in the South, reiterated its recommendations from a fact-finding mission.
Members of the mission who conducted in Zamboanga City and Sulu last February claimed to have seen with their own eyes – and to haver pictures of – the US' military structures inside Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City.
The members of the Citizens' Peace Watch are Akbayan! Party-list, Alyansa ng Kabataan sa Mindanao para sa Kapayapaan, Anak Mindanao Party List, Balay Rehabilitation Center, Bangsamoro Women's Foundation, Citizen's Coalition for Human Rights, Focus on the Global South, KaisaKa, Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya, Lanao Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, Mindanao Peoples Caucus, Mindanao Peoples Peace Movement, Mindanao Tri-People Women Forum, Moro Human Rights Center, Muslim Women's Organization, Peace Women Partners, Peacebuilders Community, Pinay Kilos, Resource Center for People's Development, STOP the War Coalition Philippines, Sumpay Mindanao, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, Tulong Lupah Sug, Inc..
"The information coming out today about the US military presence in the south confirm what we have been saying all along for many months now," said Corazon Fabros, one of the group's spokespersons.
"It is high time to look into them because the government's excuse is becoming more and more ludicrous while the situation is getting more and more dangerous," she added.
The group stressed the following findings from its fact-finding mission:
* that the US has established military basing in the Philippines;
* that the US is involved in actual combat operations in the country;
* that the US military has, in complicity with the Philippine military, committed human rights violations in the Philippines;
* that the US is conducting operations outside the control of the Philippine government and military;
* that the US military's so-called humanitarian projects are mere cover for military operations;
* that do not benefit the local population;
* US basing and intervention in the country is contributing to insecurity and leading to an escalation in conflict.
The coalition said in light of the constitutional violations and actual danger to lives and human rights, the Citizens' Peace Watch challenges elected representatives to take the initiative to demand and conduct Congressional and Senate inquiries into the issue.
It also demands the suspension of US military deployment to the Philippines, specifically the stationing of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines as well as the military exercises, pending fair and independent review of and investigations on their presence and intervention.