Monday, November 12, 2012

VFA Revisited by Erick San Juan

VFA Revisited by Erick San Juan

 When the Arroyo government kowtowed to the whims of then US President George Bush Jr. at the height of the global war on terror (GWOT), it was very convenient to justify the presence of the US troops here especially in the south. Talks on the review of the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement) then was all for 'praise' releases of the administration when several progressive groups exposed the “temporary” basing in Mindanao a.k.a. US special forces to help the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) with their training against insurgents.

Then came the controversial rape case involving a US soldier that happened in the former US naval base in Subic Bay in Olongapo City. The VFA then was again asked to be reviewed by treaty experts in the US State Department and by their local counterparts in light of the order of the Supreme Court for the Philippine government to take custody of Smith. The continued refusal of the US to hand over Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith has rekindled calls for the abrogation of the agreement. But nothing happened.

When the controversial call of US President Barack Obama reached the office of former President Gloria Arroyo (March 2009) the US “reaffirmed their commitment to the long-standing US-Philippines alliance, including the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which remains critical to the bilateral relationship and our strategic interests,” (a statement posted on the White House website said).

So, it is quite obvious that the re-election of President Obama is another way of saying that there will be no review or whatsoever where the VFA is concern. That is the American policy.

But here in the Philippines, as what Ms. Ninez Cacho Olivarez in her article at The Daily Tribune puts it – “See what happens when the President of the  Republic becomes a lackey of the United States and blatantly violate the Constitution by allowing, without question, the nuclear powered ships of the US to come to the country for so called port calls?”

We have written several articles in the past ( on the defense treaties that we have with Uncle Sam, they should be revisited and reviewed (or possibly terminated) because it benefits them more than us. It is now being supported by our good friend, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. In other words, from the very start, these pacts were all one-sided. Even in it's ratification, treaties and agreements we entered in the past, it did not have the conforme of the other party. Are we all dolts that our government allow such process?
The alleged dumping of toxic wastes from US ships from last month’s military exercises at the Philippine waters was bannered by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Pundits believe that it is another form of how Uncle Sam indirectly saying that ‘your country is our doormat, and we will do whatever we want to do.’ ( translation- we cannot do anything about this because we have pacts that our past leaders and dealers entered, and these pacts screwed the entire nation, and the generations to come.)
Lest we forget, when the Americans left Subic and Clark, they also left behind toxic wastes that were not properly cleaned up because ‘it’s not covered by the Military Bases Agreement’. Several NGOs have documentation of how these wastes have been affecting the lives of the people living in and near the areas of the former US military bases. But the nagging question here is – were there efforts made to address these problems that were brought about by that ‘agreement’?

This is exactly what is happening now to the present administration. We will remain a dumping ground because we have people in the government who are not doing enough to protect the citizenry and the country’s sovereignty.  And worst, they are the ones putting the life of every Filipino in danger.

We are one with Ms. Ninez when she wrote – “But does Noynoy care? All he seems to want is to give in to whatever demands are made by good old Uncle Sam, as he believes he can never be ousted from power as long as he is Uncle Sam’s puppet in the country. Noynoy does not even care that he is willfully violating the Constitution. Since he has his propaganda arm claiming constantly that he always follows the charter, when Noynoy clearly does not. Besides, he knows he won’t ever get impeached because he can always bribe the House of Representatives not to impeach him.”

If the President himself seems to be oblivious of what is going on in this country and how a supposed ally has been treating us in the process, there is no hope for this nation to get what is due us. We will be forever be shortchanged and be dragged into a war not of our liking because the leadership has already 'gone to the dogs'.

There will be a lot of future military exercises and tons of wastes to be dumped here, as Uncle Sam’s re-elected leader reiterated its commitment to ‘help’ countries in the Asia-Pacific region in their military modernization in defense from possible  adversaries. Despite the denial of retired Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Phils., Inc. that it dumped toxic wastes, but Hernan Habacon, spokesperson of Subic Water and Sewerage Co. said that tested water samples from a Glenn Defense vessel showed that these were "beyond the permissible limits". (PDI  Nov.13,2012)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

What now, PNoy?

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