VFA not needed to strengthen PH military capabilities — analyst
MANILA, Philippines — The government’s decision to abrogate the visiting forces agreement (VFA) with the United States should be seen not as an act of turning its back on its longest military ally, but rather as a move to further strengthen its military capabilities on its own, a political analyst said Monday.
Speaking at a news forum in Quezon City, Prof. Ramon Casiple of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform said that if anything, the VFA may have opened the discussion if it in fact actually weakened the Philippine military because of its dependence on the superpower nation.
“Tingin ko, we don’t need VFA as a necessity in terms of even our national security. In fact, it’s an argument kung bakit humina ‘yung military natin dahil naging usapin dito ‘yung palaging sinasabi ng mga pro-VFA na you need the US,” said Casiple.
(I think we don’t need the VFA as a necessity in terms of our national security. In fact, it’s an argument on why our military weakened, because those who approve of VFA always say that we need the US.)
“An independent country kagaya natin, lalo na may independent foreign policy, ang usual logic is that kung gusto mo ng pro-military you would enhance it, you do it, hindi ‘yung magdepend ka on another country,” he added.
(But for an independent country like ours, the usual logic is if you want to improve the military, you would enhance it and not depend on other countries.)
The Philippines has sent a notice of termination of the two-decade accord to the US, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed on February 11, marking the beginning of the 180-day period from when the military pact between the long-time allies will be effectively scrapped.
The termination came after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to end the VFA if the US will not rectify its revocation of the US visa of Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa, his former police chief.
This, however, was met with nonchalance from US President Donald Trump, who said the termination of the VFA is “fine” with him, and even thanked the Philippines for helping his country “save a lot of money.”