November 15, 2011
As US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Manila to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the US-PH Mutual Defense Treaty and the 50th anniversary of USAID, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Tuesday says that the US still owes the Philippines billions more in military and economic aid.
“After sixty years of cooperation with the United States, and in ten years of having implemented the Visiting Forces Agreement despite its lopsidedness, the Philippines has received only $507 million in military assistance from 2001 to 2011. Other countries have received far more for far less cooperation,” Pangilinan asserts. “Take Pakistan, for instance. News reports say that from 2002 to 2010, they received close to $20 billion in security and economic aid even as they failed to disclose the whereabouts of terrorist Osama bin Laden within their own territory.”
“The Philippines has the right to demand more from the United States, given its full cooperation on military matters, unlike other countries that have harbored terrorists yet continue to receive billions in aid each year. Kung tutuusin, barya lang ang nakukuha natin sa Amerika, pero sobra-sobra ang binibigay natin sa kanila.”
“We entered into the mutual defense treaty and the VFA to modernize our military and to strengthen our capacity to defend our sovereignty,” the senator points out, “yet we get bread crumbs relative to what their other allies and security partners have received, and our military is far from modernized.”
Other lawmakers and activist groups have likewise pointed out the need to review the VFA and demand for the Philippines’ fair share of the deal.
“Luging-lugi tayo sa VFA,” Pangilinan reiterates. “This is why we have long been clamoring for its abrogation and review.”
He continues, “While we acknowledge the value of our alliances and relationship with other countries such as the US, the respect must be mutual. We have been keeping our end of the bargain yet much is left to be desired from their end. A decade has passed and the times and circumstances have changed. The world is a different place. We must review and renegotiate the provisions of the VFA to better suit the needs of the times.”
Image Source: TopNews.In