VFA Termination is Pro-Filipino
Today the main competition is in economy and human resources, not military.
The termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) is an aspect of an independent foreign policy that will allow more flexible readjustments and calibrations according to the world situation. It is not anti-US or pro-China, but pro-Filipino. Why?
VFA increases risk, dangerous for the Philippines
The late nationalist Sen Miriam Santiago correctly pointed out that US military presence makes the Philippines a target for enemies of the US. Indeed, the PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION enshrines the pursuance of an independent foreign policy and prohibits the presence of foreign military in the country. Duterte’s decision to end the VFA protects the Filipinos and delivers on his Constitutional duties.
REASON: With the US military presence in the Philippines, the country becomes in the line of fire of disputes, frontliners for the USA. Since the US military activities may be launched from Philippine bases and waters, necessarily a rival will have to position to knock these out. Iranian General Soleimani was assassinated by US in Iraq, using a drone that flew out of Qatar, all independent sovereign nations dragged into volatile situations by US military adventurisms. The US operations in other countries are used independently of the laws in the host country as shown in Turkey, Qatar, Cuba, the Philippines, among others.
HISTORY: Philippines became biggest casualty in Southeast Asia with more than 1 million dead defending USA from Japan (where no ASEAN nation suffered more than 80 thousand). The USA abandoned the Philippines early, and had total casualties of less than 5000 thousand only for the entire WW2 (less than the Philippines). Battlefront countries like Vietnam and Korea have millions who died, vs countries that managed neutrality, which have been much more able to escape damage… eg Thailand is friend to everyone, it has NO VFA, and is a major market and investment destination for all countries.
VFA doesn’t protect Philippine sovereignty
REASON: In the VFA, US interests have superior rights to Philippine law, which is not the case in Japan or other countries… why is the Philippines a second class partner? Later on, the laws of Japan, Australia and other US allies’ may be applied with special powers and rights more than Filipinos. Even the Philippine President has to ask permission to inspect Philippine bases under EDCA or the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, but Filipinos cannot have custody of US criminal violators. This makes it impossible for any other nation to trust a Filipino agreement. US tried to dictate the Philippines and other allies not to use other countries’ more open funding, superior value weapons and technology, joint research, investments; sanctioning even key allies, meanwhile courting those that have independent policies. (China is accused that they will do this, but there is no historical basis for this.)
HISTORY: (1) Pemberton Case and many other rapes, pedophiles, murders, or Davao bombing mastermind whisked away from Davao… Philippines cannot even have custody of a US soldier dunking a Filipina in a toilet bowl, in its own territory. (2) US pointed guns at Filipino coast guards in Tubbataha to prevent them from boarding to inspect. (Compare: China accepts arrests and executions of her citizens committing crimes inside the Philippines according to Philippine law.) (3) The US is the most frequent violator of Philippine waters, making the Philippines a target as well in cases of conflict since it makes the Philippines an attack carrier for the US. (Those suggesting China wishes to invade the Philippines should note in over a thousand years of relations, PH~CH only traded and friendship, even when China had largest navy in history. The US used deceit to take over the Philippines, with estimated over a million dead Filipinos in the ensuing crushing of Filipino aspirations to be free.)
The West Philippine Sea claim dispute with China is an ongoing challenge in relations, but are now discussed in highest channels, slow but progressing. Many confidence building measures and functional cooperations have been achieved in the past 3 years, though hardly reported. Though we are not saying valid, geopolitically, this claim can be understood as a claim and as a response to the US surrounding the areas and regularly blocking trade and attacking other countries. (compare: China has settled the majority 17 out of 23 of its territorial disputes, though it but took decades and not without some skirmishes to resolve, overall China gave more concessions in pursuit of peace… No reasonable nation will risk her global standing and invade the PH when entire PH economy’s GDP is only half a year’s growth of China according to 2018 data.)
VFA TERMINATION WILL NOT REDUCE BUSINESS beyond the short term with the Philippines, WILL INCREASE BUSINESS if the Filipinos work for the longer term…
REASON: Business interests in a globalized world are based on business, especially if you have substantial value added. WHAT MATTERS IS IF WE ARE STRONG OR WEAK ECONOMICALLY AND POLITICALLY. An INDEPENDENT FOREIGN POLICY will allow us to select and readjust as situations change, it is a PRO PHILIPPINE POLICY, anchored on the belief in our own abilities and value.
HISTORY: Vietnam was a US enemy, but converted to major US business destination within a few years, selling tens of billions of USD more than the Philippines. Saudi Arabia and Israel human rights records don’t matter to the USA, which protects them. Thailand and other countries have excellent relations with both China and US without pandering to either. Pakistan and Singapore gets a lot of benefits from constantly rebalancing both US and China trying to court it. US wont stop dealing with EU despite all the warnings and their continued purchase of Huawei.
VFA is “America-First”, not “Philippine-First”, the conditions of PH control will not be honored…
REASON: US breaks any and all agreements, including with the Philippines, even against all evidences and promises. “America first” does not apply honor code, just US interest.
HISTORY: US was supposed to help the Philippines in 1898 to attain independence, but instead US took over, with over 1 million Filipinos killed in the war. US broke Iran deal even after the EU allies UK, Germany, France, Canada, and US State Secretary Tillerson and Defense Secretary Mattis certified acceptable compliance, then US assassinated Iran’s top general, who is also credited for helping stop ISIS. US promised Russia no extension of NATO, but has actually recruited states all the way to the Russian border, and even secretly stored nuclear bases in various states, just recently exposed. US trade agreements with WTO, Europe, Canada, Mexico, etc… all unilaterally broken. US preaches and ignores at will the UN, ICC, KYOTO protocol, UNCLOS…other INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS.
FOREIGN RELATIONS especially military, should become a CONSTANT REBALANCING, NEGOTIATION TOOL for the FILIPINOS. The presence of the US is important to both US and China and other powers. To give in to one instead of constant rebalancing will make us Filipinos dominated by one to the exclusion of circumstances changing favorably for the Filipino. Most of the world is increasing relations with China, and shaking off the US propensity to dictate, while remaining friends and working with both. (The main proponent of the continued brandishing of military as the main weapon of policy is the US, who spends 55 percent of all its budget on military, more than $700 billion annually on arms— bigger than the next 8 countries combined.)
REJECT! USA TOOL of MILITARIZING the WORLD, but instead adopt the APPROACH to WORLD affairs via DEVELOPMENT and BRIDGING of DIFFERENCES.
Peace is development, development is peace. — Pope Paul VI
Also published in https://www.manilatimes.net/2020/03/01/opinion/columnists/vfa-termination-is-pro-filipino/