Makabayan solons to Duterte: Scrap VFA ‘for the right reasons’ not on Bato’s canceled visa
MANILA, Philippines — If President Rodrigo Duterte decides to push through with terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United Stated (US) government, he should do it “for the right reasons.”
Lawmakers from the House’s Makabayan bloc on Thursday said that the President should “abrogate” and “terminate” the agreement because it has “onerous” provisions that are “disadvantageous” to the Philippine government, not because the visa of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, a known close ally of Duterte, got canceled.
“Hinahamon namin siya [Duterte], ‘abrogate it for the right reason at hindi dahil napikon ka at nakansela ‘yung visa ng iyong kaibigan, si Senator Bato [We are challenging the President, abrogate it for the right reason not because you were offended because the visa of your friend, Senator Bato, got canceled],” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said in a press conference.
“Nakapa-flimsy na rason, dapat ang pagka-abrograte at pag terminate ay dahil pinaglalaban natin ang ating pambansang soberanya at kasama ito sa kanyang independent foreign policy [What a flimsy reason. It should be terminated because we are fighting for our sovereignty and independent foreign policy],” he added.
The lawmakers insisted that the VFA, along with other agreements with the US such as the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) has no real benefit to the Filipino people, but rather these are disadvantageous, which is why these must be abrogated and terminated.
Should the President push through with the termination, the Makabayan bloc also warned him not to enter into agreements with other countries such as China.
The progressive lawmakers reminded that the Philippines should be free from any military basing from other countries, as provided in the country’s laws.
“Binabalaan din natin si President Duterte na halimbawa na ma-abrogate itong VFA na ito, baka magpapasok naman siya ng ibang tropa dito kagaya ng China [We warn President Duterte that if and when the VFA is abrogated, we hope he doesn’t allow other troops from foreign countries like China to replace the Americans],” ACT-Teachers’ party-list Rep. France Castro said.
Once the VFA is abrogated and terminated, they said the Philippine government should “pursue its policy of peace and amity with other countries.”
Last Jan. 22, Dela Rosa confirmed that his US visa had been canceled. A day after that, Duterte threatened to terminate the VFA if the US does not “correct” its cancellation of Dela Rosa’s visa.
Edited by JPV
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