Junk the VFA: Right song, wrong time
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-11-20
Several years ago, your Chair Wrecker lauded Senator Miriam D. Santiago for raising valid questions about the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement). Truly, the VFA is overly advantageous for the US and it also increases the number of US-Philippine pacts that bring shame to our country.

Young Filipinos may not even be aware that Filipino Quislings gave the US the disgraceful 1947 Parity Rights Agreement. Parity rights gave Americans the right to tap and utilize our natural resources. Philippine natural resources should be in Filipino hands and tapped for the benefit of Filipinos alone. All that wealth that the US had extracted from our natural resources would have gone a long way in upgrading the capability of our armed forces or rendering improved national health care.

Two months before the Parity Rights Agreement was signed, there was the Philippine ‑ US Bases Agreement of March 1947. When we signed the Bases Agreement, we opened our country to attacks by US enemies. It was already known during the closing days of World War II, that the victors would soon find themselves at war with each other. Shortly after the Bases Agreement was signed, the Korean War broke out, to be followed by the even more vicious Cold War. Filipinos are mostly unaware how we became victims of American duplicity during the Cold War when martial law was imposed here as part of the US geopolitical strategy to prevent the spread of communism.

Composed of two agreements, VFA-1 and VFA-2 became effective on May 27, 1999. The VFA immediately came under attack. The refusal of the US allow its erring personnel who will be assigned here during the course of the VFA to be subjected to our justice system rekindled Filipino memories when we felt Yankee spit on our faces. True enough, the Daniel Smith affair caused a lot of tension and frayed nerves.

Another objectionable feature of the VFA is how the US avoided having it ratified by their Senate the way our Senate ratified it. The US justifies this by claiming that the VFA is classified as an executive agreement that doesn’t require US Senate ratification.

Sen. Santiago renewed her singing of the “junk the VFA” song when this non-existent dumping of toxic waste became the recent national hysteria. As exposed in my November 17 column ‑ The truth about the Subic waste brouhaha ‑ there was no toxic waste that was dumped. It was organic waste and it was dumped in the high seas, not in the waters of Subic Bay.

Alas, Sen. Santiago lost her media peg for the VFA review when the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) released the findings of its investigation that there was no toxic waste that was dumped in Subic waters. The PCG investigation has to be given due cognizance because it was done with the right protocol as well as equipment.

After the end of the Cold War, the US was obligated to leave their bases in Clark and Subic. Sorry to offend the sensibilities of some of our nationalists but we didn’t kick out the Yanks from Clark and Subic. The Yanks were really in the process of leaving as part of their commitment in ending the Cold War. We don’t have the clout to be able kick out the Yanks.

Unable to shake off our damaged culture, which makes us believe that our rapist is our lover, we have placed ourselves in this pathetic state of perpetual dependence. While our other neighbors spent a great deal of effort to be self-reliant and free from external interference, we were parading like idiots proudly announcing that we’re Uncle Sam’s Little Brown Brothers.

If Sen. Santiago wants to sing the “junk the VFA” song again, she’s doing it at the worst possible time. There’s mighty China that has manifested its determination to grab part of our territory in the West Philippine Sea. If Sen. Santiago wants to junk the VFA now, she better come up with very convincing plans on how we can repel Chinese aggression sans US support.

Indeed, Sen. Santiago cannot propose an alternative Philippine position at this time in dealing with the Chinese threat without the backing of the US. Without the US, we’re practically primed for grabbing by China. The only rational proposal that Sen. Santiago can offer is how to negotiate surrender to China. In other words, how does Sen. Santiago propose to get commensurate benefits from the rich financial reserves of China ‑ to at least save face for ceding our oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea to China? How does Sen. Santiago valuate what could be considered as commensurate to ceding part of our territory? Is there a price for national dignity?

President Benigno S. Aquino III recently made another pitch at the ASEAN Summit, forcing himself to make the meeting despite nursing a bout with the flu, in order to seek a common position among claimants to specific areas in the South China Sea. While our president is trying to strengthen our position and protecting our interests in the South China Sea ‑ here is a Philippine Senator trying to erode US-Philippine relations by attacking the VFA at the worst possible time.

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Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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