January 27, 2006
Bayan Muna: Scrapping of VFA must follow VFACom abolition
A militant lawmaker pressed for the scrapping of the controve! rsial RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) as the “most appropriate move after the abolition of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFACom).”
Bayan Muna partylist congressman Joel Virador also called on his colleagues in the House of Representatives “to take national interest to heart and scrap the VFA.”
Malacañang has decided to abolish the commission because it “duplicates” the functions of the bicameral Legislative Oversight Committee on the VFA (LOVFA) – headed by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Cebu representative Antonio Cuenco.
“Aside from saving P20 million of government funds every year, the abolition of the VFACom may be considered a step towards the abrogati! on of the onerous, one-sided and Constitutionally-infirm VFA,” Virador said.
The legislator also shrugged off fears that the Philippines could lose up to US$8 million a year in military and humanitarian benefits if the 1998 agreement were abrogated.
“We should not fear that we will lose US$8 million annually if we scrap the VFA. The country has a guaranteed inflow of dollar remittances from migrant workers that amounted to more than US$10 billion in 2005. We can actually do away with all US military assistance so that our armed forces can actually pursue its modernization independently for our own national interests,” Virador said.
Bayan Muna has consistently called for the abrogation of the VFA and another unequal pact – the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951.
“The US government has always undermines our national sovereignty. The alleged rape of a 22-year old Filipina by four US Marines and the US’ firm stance of not turning the suspects over to our authorities illustrates the US government’s arrogance as a self-proclaimed and lone superpower in the world. That is why the VFA and the Mutual Defense Treaty must be scrapped,” Virador said. #
Reference: Bayan Muna Rep. Joel G. Virador
Contact Number: 931-6166
South Wing Room 617, House of Representatives, Batasan, Quezon City