Tag: VFA

On a US Bill Seeking to Suspend Security Assistance to PH

Image courtesy: Wikipedia

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.

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#PINGterview: Anti-Terror Law sa Korte Suprema; Pagtungo ni PRRD sa Zamboanga dahil sa Jolo Incident; Bayanihan 2

In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Anti-Terror Bill to be questioned before the Supreme Court [10:01]
* goals of Senate inquiry into Jolo incident [34:24]
* PH warning vs China over military exercises [40:34]
* special session for Bayanihan 2 [42:39]

QUOTES and NOTES:
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On the President’s Change of Heart in Abrogating the VFA

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.

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Read | Senate Petition Before the Supreme Court (G.R. No. 251977)

Photo courtesy: Senate PRIB

The Senate filed a Petition for Declaratory Relief and Mandamus before the Supreme Court on March 9, 2020, seeking a ruling on the need for Senate concurrence in ending treaties such as the VFA. Sen. Ping Lacson, who was among the petitioners, said the petition will be strengthened by Senate Resolution 337. “We’re not filing this petition in our individual capacity as senators but we’re backed by the whole Senate because of SR 337.”

#PINGterview: Improved ‘New’ VFA; ‘Money Laundering’ by Chinese Visitors

In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– ‘New’ PH-US VFA under negotiation
– Spike in cash brought by Chinese into PH

QUOTES and NOTES:
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#PINGterview: After VFA, What’s Next?

In a phone patch interview on DZBB and GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson cites the possibilities after the Visiting Forces Agreement, including possible intervening events that could β€˜undo’ its abrogation.Β 

QUOTES and NOTES:
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#PINGterview: Lifting of Taiwan Travel Ban, Lt Col Espenido Issue, VFA Abrogation

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

QUOTES and NOTES:
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On a Post-VFA Philippines

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.

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On the Signing of the Notice of Termination for the VFA

Balikatan 01

Like it or not, bad or good, nothing much can be done now but do a 180-day countdown upon receipt of the notice by Washington. What is certain is that the 1951 PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty will now be reduced to a mere paper treaty as far as the US is concerned.

Having said that, there’s no more intelligence information sharing in our fight against domestic and foreign terrorist acts, no more US military aid and financing that accounts for a good 52% of what they extend to the whole Asia-Pacific region.

That may not include other intangible economic benefits and security from external threats in the West Philippine Sea, as well as humanitarian aid in times of disasters, epidemics and other crises.

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PingBills | Senate Resolution 312, Sense of the Senate for the President to Reconsider His Plan to Unilaterally Withdraw from the VFA

Image courtesy: Wikipedia

“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)