Show sincerity vs VFA, immediately pullout US troops, Duterte told
Manila, Philippines – “If President Duterte is really sincere in abrogating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), then he must affix a seal to his pronouncement by immediately pulling the American troops out of the Philippine soil. Otherwise, he was just playing mind games to regain the United States (U.S.) visa of Senator ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa,” This was the statement of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) after the Philippine government has officially notified the U.S. that it would be terminating the VFA.
“We expect that with the termination of the VFA, no Balikatan exercises will be conducted in our territory anymore, as this annual joint military drill especially those held in coastal areas affects the livelihood of small fisherfolk to provide blanket security to the American forces,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk leader cited the fish ban declared in San Antonio, Zambales in 2018 due to the 10-day Balikatan exercise which was composed of almost 5, 000 Filipino troops, 3, 000 American soldiers, and observer troops from Australia, Japan, and South Korea.
The progressive group also recalled the 6-month fishing ban that was imposed in the Bicol region in 2009 wherein small fishers were deprived of their source of income and food for a long period of time.
Aside from the VFA, PAMALAKAYA also called for the repeal of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and abrogation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), both are military pacts that ‘favorably advance the geopolitical interest of the U.S. in the country.’
“Duterte should not waste the tireless struggles and efforts of patriotic Filipinos who kicked out the US bases in 1991, and collectively and continuously up to this day fight against the U.S. control of various aspects of our nation. He must not facade with the ideals of national sovereignty, just to negotiate for a measly travel visa of Senator Dela Rosa,” ended Hicap. ###