Filipino women’s alliance Gabriela has raised concerns over what it described as the country’s “intensified military ties” with Japan, “effectively forming a ‘securing triad’” with the United States.
“This so-called security triad between the Philippines, Japan, and the [US] was created with the rising geopolitical assertion of China in Asia as its pretext,” said Clarice Palce, Gabriela’s secretary general.
“They say it is a means to protect us against China’s aggression. We say: this is simply setting the stage for a proxy war in Asia,” she said in a statement released this week.
Earlier this month, the Philippines and the US announced plans to expand America’s military presence in the country, with access to four more bases.
In a joint announcement, the two countries said they had decided to accelerate the full implementation of the so-called Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which aims to support combined training, exercises and “interoperability.”
Also this month, Japan and the Philippines signed a defensive agreement that aims to boost the military cooperation between the two countries.
The arrangement will see Japanese soldiers join natural and humanitarian disaster response training exercises in the Philippines.
“After our meeting, I can confidently say that our strategic partnership is stronger than ever as we navigate together the rough waters buffeting our region,” said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“The future of our relationship remains full of promise as we continue to deepen and expand our engagements across a wide range of mutually beneficial cooperation,” he said during a media briefing following his visit to Japan.
Gabriela’s Palce, however, said “it would be foolish to believe that the US, with all its nearby allies like Japan, are here to form military ties with Philippine interests in mind.”
“Their ulterior goal is clear and simple — the preservation of US dominance in Asia even at the cost of provocation and even war that the Filipinos, who will be caught in the crossfire will suffer most,” said Palce.
The activist also expressed “fear the consequences of the joint military exercises” on Filipino women, children, and LGBTQIA+ persons “who have time and again become victims of physical and sexual abuse in the hands of US military stationed in the Philippines.”