Lacson warns vs ill effects of US travel ban on economy, security
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to his Cabinet not go to the United States may have “adverse” impact not only on the country’s economy and security, but also to Filipinos working there, Senator Panfilo Lacson warned on Thursday.
Senator Panfilo Lacson issued this warning on Thursday after Duterte barred his Cabinet from travelling to the US.
Lacson noted that the Philippines is exporting at least US$10B worth of goods annually to the US.
He said the Philippines gets at least 52% of the total US military financing and aid to the entire Asia-Pacific region.
“Considering these numbers, an indefinite travel ban now imposed on all members of the Cabinet could have adverse consequences on our country’s economy and security, not to mention the many employed Filipino immigrants in that country, especially if the US responds and retaliates to the recent tirades of President Duterte,” he said in a text message.
“I hope some of the Cabinet members will have the courage and sensibility to speak to him to reconsider,” Lacson added.
Duterte’s order to bar the Cabinet from going to the US followed his threat to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement between the two countries.
All these were triggered by the US’ cancelation of visa of Duterte’s close ally, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who was chief implementor of the government’s brutal war on drugs when he was the police chief.
“It’s a sign of his (Duterte) displeasure,” Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said in a separate text message when asked about the travel ban on the Cabinet’s US travels.
“He is the chief architect of our foreign policy. The buck stops with him,” Sotto added.
For his part, Dela Rosa noted that when Cabinet officials joined this government, they were expected to “sink or swim” with it.
“If they are not ready to sink, then they have an option to quit swimming with this government,” he said in another text message.
Opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, meanwhile, criticized the travel ban, saying the government should have barred instead the entry of Chinese nationals from areas infected with coronavirus.
Edited by EDV
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