MANILA, Philippines — With martial law in Mindanao and the scrapping of peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has provided the perfect excuse “for the reentry of U.S. troops and their permanent basing in the country without a signed treaty,” communist rebels claimed.
The Communist Party of the Philippines based its claim on a January 19 article in the U.S. paper Wall Street Journal, which said the American military “has launched a new counterterrorism mission in the Philippines, making operations there eligible for the same funding used to finance the long-running wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
The Journal said the government of U.S. President Donald Trump elevated its mission in the country to an “Overseas Contingency Operation” in September, responding to a request from the Philippine government, then battling extremist gunmen in Marawi City, for more support to fight such groups.
Funds for such operations “typically are exempt from limits on routine spending and have financed U.S. wars known by such names as Operation Enduring Freedom, the official name of the ‘War on Terror’,” the paper said.
In the case of “Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines,” which replaces the defunct “Operation Enduring Freedom” that ended in 2014, “money will be used to boost military and aid efforts to combat extremism,” the Journal added.
in a statement released Saturday, Jauary 27, the CPP said the “power-hungry” Duterte “has earned himself an exalted place in Trump’s international war machine,” supposedly winning the American president’s “explicit support and funding for his one-man rule.”
Critics of Duterte have accused him of seeking to establish a dictatorship, citing martial law and efforts to amend the Constitution.
The CPP noted that “since July last year, US senators have have been capitalizing on Duterte’s anti-Moro war in Marawi to call for the reestablishment of an operating base and justify stockpiling various weapons, including planes and drones, in the country.”
With martial law and Duterte’s termination of peace talks and subsequent designation of the CPP and New People’s Army as “terrorist organizations” had improved his access to U.S. OCO funds, allegedly in exchange for ‘having forward-deployed US troops “near or in combat forces they support’.”