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Group hits US drone deployment

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MILITANT group Bayan Muna raised a howl on Thursday over the deployment of US drones in the country, saying it violates the 1987 Constitution which bars the posting of foreign military forces in Philippine territory without a treaty concurred to by the Senate.

The US has deployed MQ-9A Reaper drones in the Philippines at its behest to “provide reconnaissance and surveillance” support to intelligence sharing operations between the two nations, a United States Marine Expeditionary Force spokesperson told US-based defense forum US Naval Institute News.

“The deployment of US Reaper drones in the Philippines is a blatant violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Bayan Muna Executive Vice President Carlos Isagani T. Zarate said in a statement.

It scored the government for skirting the Constitution by permitting US military deployments under the two nations’ Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

The US military did not specify the command detail and the number of drones currently deployed on a rotational basis.

Mr. Zarate said the government should “immediately withdraw its request for the deployment of drones” to assert the country’s independence and sovereignty.

The entry of Reaper drones shows the country’s susceptibility to being dictated upon by other countries, he added. “This is a clear example of the neocolonial relationship between the US and the Philippines… with our government allowing foreign powers to dictate our foreign and defense policies,” he said. — Kenneth Christiane L. Basilio

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