From: Fortunato Abat
American presence in Mindanao not necessary.
After the abrogation of the RP-US military bases agreement, American interest and presence in Mindanao today through the VFA was rekindled purportedly in pursuit of her worldwide anti-terrorist campaign after the 9/11 incident.
If it is only for her worldwide anti-terrorist campaign, American presence in Mindanao is not necessary. Philippine forces have been fighting terrorism in Mindanao even before 9/11. All that is needed is for America to honor its MAP (Military Assistance Pact) commitment to provide the military hardware and munitions to include aircraft and surface vessels and other wherewithals to give the Philippine forces better capability to fight terrorism in support of America’s worldwide anti-terrorism effort.
During CEMCOM days in the early ‘70’s, America refused to honor MAP because they (the Americans) did not like what they commit to be used against our own people (the MNLF). (Why the HMBs and later the NPAs?) But the main reason was their oil interest; they did not want to dirty their hands supporting an armed force against a force that the Middle Eastern potentates were supporting.
Even in the early days of the American occupation, after the failed Pershing and (Arthur) MacArthur expeditions against the Moros, the American occupation government in Manila had to mend its relations with the Moros through the Department of Mindanao and Sulu.
Now, America’s continuing interest in Mindanao has been revealed in the MILF’s MOA AD as a US-protected-Moroland beyond what Misuari has conceived in ZOPAD (Zone of Peace and Development).