he U.S. launched a drone strike in the southern Philippines early this month that reportedly killed 15 members of Abu Sayyaf and the Jemaah Islamiyah groups, raising concerns about the legality of U.S. drones in the country.
The airstrike prompted angry reactions from some in the Philippines weary of U.S. breach of their sovereignty.
One Philippine representative, Luz Ilagan, called for repealing the U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement and an end to U.S. military intervention in national affairs.
Ilagan also called for a probe into what she referred to as the “extensive and intensive intrusion of the U.S. military in Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) operations.”
She added, “If these reports are true, then U.S. troops are participating in and conducting operations beyond what is allowed in the Visiting Forces Agreement and directly transgressing our sovereignty. More importantly, their participation in these operations is a potential magnet for the Philippines’ participation in a brewing U.S.-instigated regional conflict.”
The U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement forced the closure of major U.S. military bases in the 1990’s and prohibits the U.S., the country’s former colonial ruler, from establishing a military presence. But the U.S. has not gone away since then. Antiwar
The CIA and the U.S. military have used unmanned aerial vehicles known as drones to target and kill “suspected militants” in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Libya.
U.S. President Barack Obama ordered his first drone strike against Pakistan just 72 hours after being sworn in as president. CBS News
The United States was identified in June 2010 as the world's No. 1 user of targeted killings -- largely as a result of its dependence on unmanned drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan. CNN
Human rights lawyers also deem the drone strikes as "extrajudicial killings" charging that there is no legal basis for the attacks. Although there is no exact record of CIA drone-inflicted civilian deaths, various independent organizations and human rights activists have put the figure at thousands.