by Erick San Juan
Almost a month ago I wrote an article about the recommendation of Sen. Miriam Santiago to the Executive Department regarding the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement stating the need for its review. Sen. Santiago’s observation of the still strong and active insurgency groups in the south only proves that the VFA is not successful.
Now that she formally presented this concern to the Senate and was approved on second reading, and will have the final voting on Monday to formalize its final approval of the resolution, Malacanang will have to push for its abrogation if the US government will not accept the VFA’s renegotiation. Congressman Erin Tanada even advised our government to send a Termination Notice to the U.S. government. Although the Palace gave this task to the VFA Commission’s Executive Director Edilberto Adan to submit recommendations for the review of the agreement, the clamor to abrogate the "agreement" is too strong.
How could all these efforts materialize when the good US Ambassador Kristie Kenney already stated that “ Washington was happy with the VFA and there’s no need for renegotiation”? After all, the VFA is an “executive agreement and requires no ratification by the US Senate”.
What will be the consequences of this move by our leaders to save our country’s’ sovereignty when it comes to military power? Now that the US has changed course of its anti -missile strategy for Europe, the focus now is where our country is strategically located. The US ballistic missile defense (BMD) planners, for the last five years has concentrated on China (not Russia) and North Korea (not Iran ) when it comes to US policy on national security. Remember the almost “collision” of the US and China’s naval ships in Philippine waters? Do we need to spell it out that Uncle Sam badly needs the VFA to sustain its plan in this region?
This could be the biggest test for our leaders’ nationalist stand on a very critical issue that will affect the world.