From: Rick Rozoff <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

Subject: Back To The Philippines: What To Expect


Wednesday Jan. 30, 2002, Philippines

US troops violated rules of
past war games: ex-official
Posted: 7:27 PM (Manila Time) | Jan. 30, 2002

ABUSES were committed by American soldiers in past
training exercises with Philippine troops, a former
official of the Visiting Forces Agreement Commission
said Wednesday, a day before the two countries launch
unprecedented six-month exercises aimed at helping the
government crush the notorious Abu Sayyaf bandit

Facing members of the House of Representatives
conducting a hearing on Philippines-US war games that
will begin Thursday, former VFA Commission executive
director Elmer Cato said American soldiers violated
the "terms of reference" that governed the joint
training exercises last year.

Cato furnished members of the House defense and
foreign affairs committees with a "briefing paper for
monitoring team for Balikatan 01" which listed the

He said the document resulted from his own

Representative Imee Marcos read some of the reported
violations, which included alleged "displacement of
Aetas, Olongapo explosion, shelling of a village in
Zambales, beheading of a Marine officer, and the
mauling by two US servicemen of a cab driver."

Cato said that on two occasions the VFA Commission
called the attention of US troops to flying exercises
in Clark Field ? a former American air force base in
Pampanga province north of Manila ? unaccompanied by
Filipino counterparts.

Past Philippine-US military training exercises were
done in Cebu in the central Philippines and in the
Central Luzon region north of Manila. Under the VFA,
they should last no more than four weeks.

Scheduled to begin Thursday are six-month exercises
with about 600 American soldiers and tons of US
equipment for "training exercises" against the Abu
Sayyaf bandits in their jungle stronghold on Basilan
island in Mindanao.

Militant groups have criticized what they call
government's "lack of transparency" on the new
exercises, dubbed "Balikatan 02-01".

Armed Forces chief General Diomedio Villanueva said
Wednesday the terms of reference for this year's
exercises are expected to be signed by President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after she returns from the
United States on Sunday.

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