Ipinaabot ni Senador Panfilo Lacson sa Estados Unidos ang kanyang maagang pasasalamat matapos na ibilang ang Pilipinas sa mga uunahing bigyan ng bakuna sa ilalim ng COVID vaccine-sharing strategy nito.
Tinukoy ng mambabatas bilang indikasyon ng pagkakaibigan ang pagkakalahok ng Estados Unidos sa Pilipinas sa mga mauunang pagkalooban ng bahagi ng unang 25 milyon na doses ng bakuna.
“Thank you. We won’t forget this gesture of friendship. Unless World Health Organization protocols are too strict on vaccine donations, it would be better if it’s done bilaterally instead of through COVAX. Our people need the vaccines ASAP,” banggit ni Lacson sa kanyang Twitter account.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson thanked the United States government on Friday for making the Philippines one of the first beneficiaries of its COVID vaccine-sharing strategy.
Lacson described as a “gesture of friendship” the inclusion of the Philippines in the US’ list of recipients of the first 25 million doses to be shared.
But he also suggested that this be done bilaterally if possible to make sure Filipinos get the vaccines sooner, even as he pushed for greater efforts by our government to enhance people’s trust in the vaccines.
“Thank you. We won’t forget this gesture of friendship. Unless World Health Organization protocols are too strict on vaccine donations, it would be better if it’s done bilaterally instead of through COVAX. Our people need the vaccines ASAP,” Lacson said on his Twitter account.
“Meanwhile, our government needs to continue enhancing our people’s trust in the vaccines, especially those who remain reluctant to get their jabs done. Our people should be convinced of the truth that getting inoculated can save their lives as well as those of their loved ones – and pay no mind to the disinformation and conspiracy theories,” he added.
Filipinos should stand foursquare behind DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana for making known his strong position in defending our country’s sovereign rights over the Whitsun Reef (Julian Felipe Reef) – and before that, the Mischief Reef, occupied by the Chinese during the period 1994-1995 and the Scarborough Shoal, which China cordoned off in 2012. All these have legal basis under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the existing arbitral ruling in our favor.
A sad reality is that while the ruling is permanent, it is unenforceable. The situation is made worse when our country’s leaders and foreign policy decision makers resort to acquiesce bordering on implied derogation of our sovereignty.
Even amid this pandemic, such “health crisis opportunism” being applied by China does not speak well of the assumed trust and goodwill between the two Asian allies. That said, our country is losing tens of billions of pesos a year in “stolen” aquatic resources, not to mention the wanton destruction of corals within our Exclusive Economic Zone that threatens our food security.
The fact that we are a militarily weak country that cannot match China’s military power should compel us to resort to establishing stronger alliances not only with other Asia-Pacific neighbors like Australia and Japan and the other ASEAN countries, but our long-standing western allies like the US and Europe.
Only through a clear message that the presence of “balance of power” in the West Philippine Sea can help us in this regard.
Malinaw na nakasaad sa Saligang Batas ang karapatan ng Senado sa pagpasok ng ating pamahalaan sa mga pandaigdigang tratado lalo na kung nakasalalay ang pangmatagalang kapakanan at interes ng bansa, katulad ng Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
“I may not be a lawyer like the President. But last time I read the Constitution, a senator has something to do with international agreements. The President should refresh his memory by reading Article VII, Sec. 21 of the 1987 Constitution. It says: No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate,” banggit ni Lacson.
No less than the 1987 Constitution gives senators a say in the Philippines’ international agreements like the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement, especially if they affect the country’s long-term national interest and security.
“I may not be a lawyer like the President. But last time I read the Constitution, a senator has something to do with international agreements. The President should refresh his memory by reading Article VII, Sec. 21 of the 1987 Constitution. It says: No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate,” said Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense.
Mas epektibo ang sibil, madiplomasya at magalang na paraan ng paghahatid ng mensahe sa isang matagal nang kaalyado gaya ng Estados Unidos, lalo sa usapin tulad ng Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
Binanggit ito ni Senador Panfilo Lacson, chairman ng Senate Committee on National Defense, dahil para sa kanya ay hindi dapat presyuhan ang kahalagahan ng VFA sa Pilipinas.
“The President may have used strong words to send his message across to the US. But certainly, there is a more civil and statesmanlike manner to ask for compensation from a longtime ally using the usual diplomatic channels and still get the same desired results,” banggit ni Lacson.
Why use strong words to send a message to a longtime ally when a civil, diplomatic and statesmanlike approach can be more effective?
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson stressed this Sunday as he pointed out one cannot put a price tag on the value of the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement on the Philippines.
“The President may have used strong words to send his message across to the US. But certainly, there is a more civil and statesmanlike manner to ask for compensation from a longtime ally using the usual diplomatic channels and still get the same desired results,” said Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense.
Members of the US Congress are within their rights to file any legislative measure under any circumstances. As in our case, it will have to go through the mill of first reading and referral, committee hearings and floor debates.
If adopted and approved, the said bill – H.R. 8313 – will not only be our loss but theirs as well, considering that a major part of the security assistance being extended to the Philippines is used to combat terrorism, which knows no borders and timing. And they know that for a fact.
And since the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) is still existing, they may have to resolve that as a legal issue in their deliberations.
First, just so it is clear where I’m coming from: I am not pro- or anti-American, as in actual fact, they took away my US visa a long time ago. Nor am I pro- or anti-Chinese since I have many friends in and out of Beijing.
That said, the President’s change of heart is a welcome development as far as defense and economic security of the country is concerned. The Philippines needs the Visiting Forces Agreement especially now that Chinese intrusions into our territory, particularly in the West Philippines Sea, have become commonplace.
The last thing that we should lose is the balance of power that the USA, among other allies like Australia and other ASEAN neighbors, can provide to suit our national interest and territorial integrity.
It is a no-brainer that we can’t stand on our own and protect ourselves from harassment coming from those intrusions.
In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– lifting of travel ban on Taiwan
– issues involving P/Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido
– possible actions after VFA abrogation
– franchise of ABS-CBN
The Filipino people are resilient and our soldiers are no different. We will survive, no doubt. We know how to improvise and we can adapt to crises the way we did many times before.
But in the meantime, we remain exposed to terrorist threats, both domestic and foreign, not to mention the continuing security threat in the West Philippine Sea posed by China, and even the need for timely humanitarian response and assistance that the US is capable of deploying during disasters, natural or man-made. Also affected by the VFA’s abrogation is the maintenance and repairs of military hardware, mostly air assets provided by the US under the AFP modernization program.
Exploring other options like inking similar defense treaties with other nations as posited by the AFP Chief of Staff is fine but the reality is, it doesn’t happen overnight. It will take a series of back-and-forth negotiations in pursuit of the concerned parties’ self and national interests before going through lengthy deliberations for ratification by the Senate.
While admittedly, the VFA is not perfect for the Philippines as far as equitability is concerned, the timing and reasons for its abrogation are way off the mark.
The thing is, it is not the smartest move of the President to expose ourselves naked first before looking for other options for cover.
“Be it resolved as it is hereby resolved, to express as it hereby expresses the sense of the Senate to earnestly request the President to reconsider his planned abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement in the meantime that the Senate is conducting a review and impact assessment with the end in view of ensuring the continued safety and security of the Philippines and the Asia Pacific and maintain the existing balance of power within the region.” (co-author with Senate President Sotto and Sen. Drilon)
An indefinite travel ban to the United States 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 there, especially if the US retaliates to the recent tirades of President Duterte.
The Philippines is exporting at least $10 billion worth of goods annually to the US, and accounts for 52 percent of the total US military support and assistance to the entire Asia-Pacific region.
Considering all these, I hope some of the Cabinet members will have the courage and sensibility to speak to the President to reconsider.
Allowing and denying the entry of foreigners into the territory of the United States, or any country for that matter, is a matter of right of that host country. They don’t even have to justify it.
What is unacceptable is the passage of a resolution by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that calls for the dismissal of charges against any respondent in a criminal case, in this case, Sen. de Lima and Maria Ressa. It is an affront to the integrity of our courts and the country’s judicial system. Even the President or any executive official, or any member of our Congress, cannot issue a formal resolution that will encroach on the power of a co-equal branch of government.
It is a good development that the President has subsequently corrected himself by saying that he cannot prevent incursions of foreign fishing vessels within the Exclusive Economic Zone because even if he wants to, we don’t have the capability nor the capacity to do it, not to mention that the arbitral ruling is unenforceable in the first place; and that the Philippines merely exercises sovereign right, not sovereignty over the areas within the EEZ. I agree with the President in this regard. Having said that, to allow is not the same as not being able to prevent.
Further, calling on the United States – with whom we have a Mutual Defense Treaty – and other western allies to help check China in the WPS is proper given the prevailing circumstances, contrary to some narrow-minded critics that such move is a sure formula for war.
On the other hand, maintaining the balance of power in the WPS will prevent rather that ignite war. Why? No two superpowers would go to war in this day and age of nuclear technology for the simple reason of its ‘zero-sum’ outcome.
Isinulong ni Senador Panfilo Lacson, kasama si Senate President Vicente Sotto III at Sen. Gregorio Honasan II, ang resolusyong naglalayong sermunan ang mga mambabatas ng Estados Unidos na nakikialam sa sistema ng hudikatura ng Pilipinas sa pamamagitan ng dalawang resolusyon.
Sa Senate Resolution 1037 na magkasamang iniakda at isinumite ng tatlong mambabatas, malinaw na isinaad ng mga ito na hindi puwedeng makialam ang mga dayuhan sa panloob ng usapin ng Pilipinas.
Nilinaw din ni Lacson na walang ibang hangarin ang kanilang pagsasampa sa Senate Resolution 1037, at kung may mga personalidad umanong nasali sa aksyon nilang ito laban sa pakikialam ng mga banyagang mambabatas, ito ay nagkataon lamang.
“Sen. (Leila) de Lima and Ms. (Maria) Ressa are but incidental to the intent of this resolution. They are entitled to fair justice and judgment by the courts handling their cases. But what we need to point out is that supremacism has no place in a civilized world regardless of race, color and status in wealth and power,” paliwanag ni Lacson.
Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III and two colleagues filed late Wednesday a resolution rebuking some members of the United States Congress for interfering with the Philippine judicial process via two proposed resolutions.
Introducing Philippine Senate Resolution 1037 along with Sotto were Senators Panfilo M. Lacson and Gregorio B. Honasan II.
Lacson emphasized Sen. Leila de Lima and Maria Ressa, whose release the proposed US resolutions sought, are “incidental” to the intent of the Philippine Senate resolution.
“Sen. de Lima and Ms. Ressa are but incidental to the intent of this resolution. They are entitled to fair justice and judgment by the courts handling their cases. But what we need to point out is that supremacism has no place in a civilized world regardless of race, color and status in wealth and power.” Lacson stressed.
At the Kapihan sa Senado forum, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– return of the Balangiga Bells from the US to PH
– portrayal of PNP leadership in ‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’
– suspension of excise tax on fuel products in 2019
– President Duterte’s supposed ‘power nap’ at the ASEAN Summit
– possible arrest of former First Lady Imelda Marcos
– bringing down VAT and cutting the number of exemptions
– possible Senate inquiry into recent killing of local executives
– rogue cops abusing their authority amid a pay raise starting January 2019
– prospective third telco
– DICT leadership change
– legislation transferring training of police recruits from PPSC to PNP
– ‘rampant corruption’ at Customs
– possible extension of martial law in Mindanao