Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Internal Situation in the Philippines

February 23, 1986

The American people are watching with great concern and compassion the events unfolding in the Philippines, a long-time friend and ally. The President appealed earlier today to President Marcos to avoid an attack against other elements of the Philippine Armed Forces. Regrettably, there are now reports of an attack. An attempt to resolve this situation by force will surely result in bloodshed and casualties, further polarize Philippine society, and cause untold damage to the relationship between our governments.

The United States provides military assistance to the Philippine Armed Forces in order to strengthen its ability to protect the security of the Philippines, particularly against the serious threat posed by a growing Communist insurgency. We cannot continue our existing military assistance if the government uses that aid against other elements of the Philippine military which enjoy substantial popular backing. The President urges in the strongest possible terms that violence be avoided as Filipinos of good will work to resolve the ongoing crisis.

Note: Larry M. Speakes read the statement to reporters at 5:18 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.