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“It is ironic that as we celebrate National Children's Month this October in recognition of the children as the hope of the future, these same children are being utilized as propaganda materials for the idea of ‘humanizing’ wars and to make Balikatan exercises more acceptable to the public,” added De Jesus.

“Children are the collateral damage in all forms of unjustified wars. ‘Humanizing’ war opens the children to further vulnerability as they are being subtly force to accept the culture of violence. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child obliges every State to safeguard the right of every child to a safe home and peaceful community. But how can we be sure now of peaceful communities for them if their communities and playgrounds are turning into war zones?” De Jesus further added.

De Jesus further stressed that US is using the Philippines as a staging ground to achieve its goal to maintain a dominant role in the Asia Pacific region. “The Philippine government has been an all too willing host for the US war machine. It has been hoodwinked by promises of modernization for the Philippine armed forces. The Aquino government is dead wrong if it believes that by hanging on the coat-tails of Uncle Sam, our country would be in a better position to assert our sovereignty.”

“To be a nation that can effectively assert its sovereignty, the government must abandon all vestiges of neo-colonialism. We need an independent foreign policy that is free from US dictates. Only then can we develop our capability to assert our claims,” the Gabriela solon ended.