Palace thinks PH must now reevaluate defense pact with US
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday said it believes the Philippine government should now reconsider its defense pact with the United States, asserting the country’s long-time ally appears to have reneged on its obligations to the Philippines.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque cited at least three instances where the US purportedly failed to help the Philippines in its maritime row with China, which, he noted, are reasons enough to re-evaluate the benefits of the Philippines under the Mutual Defense Treaty with the US.
Among these, he said, is when the Philippines lost the Mischief Shoal and Panatag Shoal, as well as China’s construction of three artificial islands within the country’s exclusive economic zone.
“So sa akin po, panahon na talaga dapat pag-isipan kung talagang mayroon ba tayong nahihita diyan sa Mutual Defense Treaty dahil at least ‘no tatlong beses na na nagkaroon ng dahilan para sila’y tulungan tayo, hindi naman po tayo natulungan,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.
(For me, it’s time to reevaluate if we are reaping benefits under the Mutual Defense Treaty because there are at least three instances where the US could’ve helped us but they didn’t.)
Roque made the remarks after President Rodrigo Duterte demanded the US to pay if they want to keep the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the Philippines.
Aside from thinking of abrogating VFA, the country should also consider getting out of the Expanded Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which, Roque said, allowed the US to preposition soldiers and their defense equipment in the country and let them use the country’s military bases.
In a pre-recorded national address aired late Monday night, Dutertet said he would stop the US from turning Subic into a military base.
“So sa tingin ko po kung gusto na matigil ito ng ating Presidente, kinakailangan balikan muli at pag-isipan niya kung bukod sa VFA ay dapat na rin tayong magbitiw dito sa tinatawag na EDCA dahil iyan po talaga ngayon ang ligal na basehan para manatili dito sa ating bayan ang kasundaluhan at ang mga equipment ng mga Amerikano,” Roque said.
(So I think, for the President to stop this, we have to revisit and rethink if aside from the VFA we should also leave from the EDCA, which is the legal basis of the US to stay in our shores.)
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