As the Senate probes on the abrogation of the Philippines’ Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States, Senator Richard J. Gordon stressed that the country’s foreign policy must not be dictated by whim or caprice but by the need of the armed forces.
Gordon pointed out, the country’s security is what “ultimately matters” and that the VFA exists because “we don’t have a military that can defend us.”
“Is it a national interest to abolish the VFA at this point in time? Hindi naman tayo nakikipag-agreement dahil gusto natin pero dahil kailangan natin. Kung hindi natin kailangan, huwag tayong makipag-agree. But we have to be on our own, he said.”
Gordon underscored the importance of the VFA and said he is against its removal because of the Philippine military’s unreadiness. He added, the military “will be all air and no force, and all coast and no guard” if the agreement will be abolished.
“The people must know that our military has been bereft leaving us dependent on our relationships with other countries. Strengthen the military, enrich the country. We have to look at the interest of our nations,” he said.
Gordon also pointed out that more equipment from other countries could have been bought when the US military was still in the country, which could have strengthened the armed forces’ capabilities.
“If we were beefing up our military when the US military was there, then we would have been able to have a more interdependent foreign policy,” he explained.
The VFA between the Philippines and the U.S. was established in 1999 upon ratification by the Senate of the Philippines. The agreement allows defense forces cooperation between the two nations and permits the U.S. military to participate in the training programs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Since the creation of the VFA, the US has been providing military support to the Philippines in countering threats such as terrorism, and assisting on the country’s internal security operations. SENATE.GOV.PH