Salceda on VFA termination: the US ‘needs us’
MANILA, Philippines — Propped up by the Philippines’ good standing in the global affairs, a solon voiced out his support for the cancellation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the United States and the Philippines, saying the US “needs us.”
“Pabor ako e (I am in favor of terminating the VFA),” Albay Rep. Joey Salceda told reporters Monday at the House of Representatives in Quezon City.
Salceda, who chairs the House committee on ways and means, however, did not answer queries about what possible economic effects the termination of the PH-US accord would entail.
“They need us. At this stage, with the nation’s state… we are performing a very critical—a more enhanced and heightened role in global affairs,” he said.
He said that his stand has always been against the presence of the US or any foreign nationals in the Philippines.
“That is a stand I made since I was in college, I was against the military bases. For me, no matter the intention, no matter what the motivation, it’s good for our national sovereignty,” he said.
Duterte issued his threat to scrap the VFA following the cancellation of Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa’s visa for still unspecified reasons.
The VFA covers the conduct of visiting American soldiers in the Philippines and serves as foundation for military exercises between the Philippines and the US.
It took effect in 1999.
Salceda believes that the country took the first shot and that the US only responded.
“Ginawa na rin naman natin sa kanila kaya binawian lang tayo. Diba tinanggalan din natin ng visa yung tatlong US senators? Tayo ang nauna, actually,” Salceda said.
(We also did it to them so they only responded. Didn’t we cancel the visa of three US senators? We are the ones to took the first shot, actually.)
In late December 2019, the Palace announced that Duterte has ordered the Bureau of Immigration to deny US Senators Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy entry to the Philippines.
Both Durbin and Leahy pushed for the banning of Filipino officials, who allegedly behind the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima, from entering the US.
On January 1, the Palace confirmed that another US official, this time Senator Edward Markey, has been banned from entering the country.
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