Thursday, April 24, 2014

Opinion: To end VFA is to uphold sovereignty

As Karapatan and BAYAN lead a protest action on the next few days, Vince Casilihan of Karapatan-Bikol expresses the organization’s anxieties. He bewails that each single moment that the government pays no heed to various sectors’ clamor to repeal the VFA, the danger of US military equipment and machinery smashing into Philippine territory heightens at a recurrent basis.


Casilihan said, “Within just weeks, Philippine sovereignty has been trampled by the US military, what with the US Navy drone recovered in Masbate in January 6, and just recently the trespassing of the USS Guardian in Philippine waters. Who knows what other US military vessel or aircraft will come crashing in the next days?”

Casilihan refers to the January 6 recovery of a US Navy drone in Masbate that has enraged nationalistic Filipinos and intensified calls that PNoy’s regime uphold Philippine sovereignty and junk the unjust VFA. “It is every Filipino’s right to live in a sovereign country free from foreign military infringement,” said Casilihan.

The VFA allows, among others, unhampered mobility for US troops, and has for more than a decade served damaging to the people’s interests. According to Casilihan, news reports, as well as accounts from people’s organizations, have exposed far-reaching transgressions of US armed forces. “Their Balikatan exercises and covert military operations have killed civilians and have damaged homes and properties. They dump their waste into our waters, clouded our skies with their drones, and have now rammed into our protected reefs. VFA destroys not just human life but also spoils the environment. The people have nothing to gain from this hideous VFA – at the very least vulnerability and human rights is at stake.

Moreover, Karapatan-Bikol reiterates PNoy’s servility to US interests. Casilihan protests PNoy’s lackluster attitude in confronting US authorities on the latter’s violation of Philippine laws. “PNoy the ultimate puppet salivates on the World’s No. 1 Bully’s And to this, PNoy turns a blind eye.

In closing, Casilihan accentuates the primacy of VFA’s abolition. According to him, not only US arrogance brought about by a decade of VFA would be done away with, and the environment be protected. “Not only would we be free from US military encroachment, but most of all, Philippine sovereignty – our dignity as a people – shall be ennobled,” concludes Casilihan.

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