US officials today say that in spite of previous claims from a retired Philippine Navy lieutenant, the hundreds of US troops on the ground in the Southern Philippines are not actually involved in combat operations, but are merely there for temporary training of the Philippine soldiers.
Lt. Nancy Gadian told a congressional hearing yesterday that the US troops had been embedded into units being used in combat situation, which might violate the Philippine Constitution’s prohibition against foreign troops fighting in the nation.
The US has a long history of interference in the Philippines, including a massive anti-insurgency effort after the US occupied the nation in the wake of the Spanish-American War. That war began when the US ruled that the nation was not “ready” for independence and led to a massive and bloody decade-long war which saw massive civilian casualties.
A major US military presence was continued for nearly a century, but eventually came to an end. Since 2002, however, the US has been deploying troops to the Philippines in an “advisory” role as part of Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines.