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VP Leni Hits Duterte Admin’s Hasty Move To End VFA

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Vice President Leni Robredo, scored the Duterte administration’s push to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States government, questioning the seemingly skewed reasoning behind the move.

VP Leni said it was shocking that the government would proceed with such haste over a decision that needs thorough and careful study.

“Nakakagulat na ganoong kabilis,” she told reporters in Pili, Camarines Sur. “Kasi iyong naiisip ko, iyong pumutok iyong coronavirus: iyon, iyong agarang pagdesisyon ng pamahalaan, kinakailangan para maproteksyunan iyong kalusugan ng mga mamamayan, pero naghintay pa ng ilang araw bago magdesisyon. Pero ito, parang sinantabi iyong pakikiusap ng AFP, ng Senate, ng iba pang mga opisyal ng pamahalaan.”

Robredo further raised concerns over the reason that drove this decision, as she reiterated the call for the administration to spend more time to consider this important matter, particularly in light of the position taken by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“Hindi ko maintindihan kung ano iyong dahilan. Isang bagay na kailangang pag-aralan nang mabuti, isang bagay na kailangang pagdiskusyunan muna, bakit minamadali? Minamadali ba dahil sa galit na hindi napagbigyan iyong mga kaalyado? Galit dahil sa may kinanselang visa? Parang hindi ito tama, na iyong security ng ating bansa iyong nakataya,” she said.

“Ang hinihingi lang natin sana pag-aralan nang maayos. Ano ba naman iyong upuan at pakinggan iyong kaisipan ng iba’t ibang mga sektor?” she added. “Dito ako nagugulat kasi may mga inaasahan tayong agarang desisyon, hindi naman nagdedesisyon kaagad. Pero ito na kailangang pag-isipan nang maayos, sobra naman yatang bilis.”

Last week, the Vice President said she supports a review of the VFA, as well as other defense pacts that the Philippine government has entered into. She noted that such assessment should determine whether the provisions of the agreements meet the needs of “prevailing conditions”.

The VFA, Robredo also said, should not be used as “leverage” or a way to get back at the United States. This comes after President Rodrigo Duterte issued the threat to scrap the agreement, apparently over the cancellation of the visa of Senator Bato dela Rosa, the former Philippine National Police chief who first led his administration’s bloody war against drugs.

Photo Credit: facebook.com/VPLeniRobredoPH

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