The Persistent “Visitor”
By Erick San Juan
The president – elect Benigno S. Aquino III, now with less than a week, will take his oath as the 15th President on June 30. The future president is now battered by so many issues and concerns from the very controversial Hacienda Luisita and his smoking habit to something as trivial as his “first lady”. But to top it all, is the ever persistent “visitor” via the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), a very important concern not only by Senator Miriam Santiago but all of us patriotic Filipinos awaiting the course of action by the incoming administration on the said matter.
The timing is ripe to remind the soon-to-be President about the review of the VFA due to the untimely “friendly visit” of the new US Ambassador at his residence. The nation should know Mr. Aquino’s stand now that he will occupy the highest position of the land. If he will be true to his previous stand when he was a senator and supported the Senate Resolution to revoke the Agreement (VFA) to give way for the review of its provisions that are unfair to the Filipinos and clearly violates our constitution.
It is a fact that the presence of the American troops in the south for a decade now did not produce positive results on the war against the bandits and secessionist groups. Furthermore, it only brought doubts on the real intentions of the visiting US forces in the area believed to be rich in natural resources. Another nightmare of the Mindanaoans is the possible connivance to bring about a divided Mindanao and the balkanization of our country as a whole.
It would be important to consider the daily international situation that involves the US, when it comes to its geopolitical positioning especially here in the Asian region. We cannot disregard the reality of the ever growing tension in this part of the globe that implicates the US and its perceived rivals in military and global economy like China and North Korea, and the rest of Asia. And the fact that the Obama administration’s Asian coordinator on the global war on terror (GWOT) will be leaving her post soon. That made the US Ambassador’s visit to the incoming president very suspicious.
The decisive action of the new administration regarding the VFA will clearly set the tone on the Manila-Washington relations. That is the reason why I am strongly in favor of a true nationalist ideology to be part of the school curriculum in all aspects of our educational system. Through the teaching of ideology, all Filipinos will learn the importance of a united citizenry in order to be always on our guard against manipulation. This I strongly adhere to avoid history being repeated that will put us all at the losing end.
We need neighbors and friends to survive in the international community of sovereign nations. That is why we must be very careful especially now that we are entering another phase in our history with the new set of leaders. May the past mistakes bring the much needed wisdom to those who will lead this country. May God bless us all!