Out Now Coalition to US State Department William Burns: Stop meddling in Mindanao, must bring US troops home

The US Troops Out Now Mindanao Coalition is calling out to US Undersecretary for Political Affairs William J. Burns  to stop United States’ meddling in Mindanao, and bring their military troops back home.

This after Mr. Burns, who is here in Cotabato City, announced that the US government will continue supporting the state’s anti-terror campaign, and support peace and development in Mindanao.

Mr. Burns’ announcement of continuing US military support is a cause of concern, as it only worsens the peace and human rights situation in Mindanao. By continuing the deployment of US troops, support, and financial aid to the military here, this only reinforce the terror to the people in Mindanao.  We have seen how this military counter-terror and counter-insurgency campaign has resulted to more civilians killed, more communities displaced, more civilians wrongly accused as terrorists and jailed.

There is also the death of Gregan Cardeño, an interpreter for the US troops, who was found dead in the US base camp in Camp Ranao in Marawi, and the reason of his death remains a mystery.

These violations show that we cannot allow the US troops one more day in Mindanao to sow their terror.

Secondly, we are also concerned with US involvement in the peace talks between the government and the MILF in Mindanao as based on past experiences of their meddling in these talks have blurred the issue of peace.

We learned of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) meddling in the talks, where they pushed coercive measures to fast track the peace pact, and dangled a 30-million dollar investment to Central Mindanao once the MoA-AD is signed.

Such experiences showed that the US pursuit of peace is more self-fulfilling to secure their economic investments and projects in Central Mindanao.   For this, we are concerned that the US must respect the process of the talks, by allowing true stakeholders to bring out the issues  that will bring just and lasting peace in Mindanao.

Furthermore, we from the Out Now Mindanao Coalition urge the Aquino administration to heed the call of Mindanao, to stand against the meddling of the US government in Mindanao and in the country.  We reiterate our call to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement and pullout all US troops embedded in the country.

We also call for the Congress and other government agencies to  immediately probe the US troops’ involvement in the death of Gregan Cardeño.


Mindanao Coalition