Human Rights Watch is again calling on President Aquino of the Philippines to prosecute and put a stop to the rampant torture, extra-judicial killings, and disappearances of “leftist activists, journalists, and clergy.” The Aquino government has only been in power for two years, but is resembling his unscrupulous predecessors after having “not successfully prosecuted a single case of extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance, including those committed during his presidency.”
Nevertheless, Washington has been supporting the Filipino government throughout. Just since Obama took office, taxpayers sent approximately $841.7 million to the Filipino government, making it one of the biggest recipients of US military aid in all of Asia, at a time when numerous embassy cables released by WikiLeaks acknowledge systematic extrajudicial killings, abduction, and false arrests perpetrated by the US-supported security forces. In March, the Obama administration secured a deal with the Aquino government in which Washington would send arms and increase direct training to Filipino security forces in exchange for permission to expand US military presence in the country.
About 600 U.S. Special Operations Forces have remained in the country in a wasteful imperial project, targeting a militant group that presents no threat to the US. American reach has been widening in the Philippines for years now, but especially in recent months. In February, Washington launched a drone strike in the southern Philippines that reportedly killed 15 people associated with Islamic militant groups. The drone strike prompted angry reactions from many in the Philippines weary of US breach of their sovereignty.
Washington is putting resources towards an exaggerated militant threat in the Philippines and is complicit in state crimes and human rights abuses there all in order to implement a broader imperial plan to counter China’s regional influence. As always, the interests of the state in foreign policy transcend all else.