October 18, 2010
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan joined Senate colleagues in calling for a review of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), citing the lopsidedness of the treaty that puts the country at a disadvantage
“After over a decade of the VFA, are we more secure as a nation? Are our armed forces better-equipped and trained to address security issues? Have we benefitted militarily as envisioned by the agreement? Or has it been a lopsided arrangement favoring the Americans, who have been able to stay here indefinitely, enjoying basing arrangements without paying up?”
Issuing a stronger challenge, Pangilinan added: “Pay up or leave. If they don’t put their money where their mouths are then they should pack up and leave. They are enjoying ‘first class amenties’ yet are paying dirt cheap rates. Umuupa sila ng mansyon pero ang bayad nila pang barung-barong.”
“If I recall, Pakistan receives billions of dollars in military aid just to allow US troops access to their territory. We get a few used Huey helicopters and one or two C130 airplanes that have seen better days,” Pangilinan pointed out.
“Why we allow the US to throw breadcrumbs to us while it gives champagne and caviar is beyond me,” said the senator, who last year initiated calls for the abrogation of the treaty.
“The world has changed dramatically in the last ten years since the VFA was first entered into. It’s about time we correct the onerous arrangement and even up the score.”
“This is about regaining our self-respect as a nation and we most certainly deserve it,” Pangilinan reiterated.
Image Source: Life.com