PH to lose 'a lot' of military training if VFA terminated: Gordon

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 10 2020 10:27 AM | Updated as of Feb 10 2020 09:42 PM

Philippine Navy personnel watch as the US Navy's multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Wasp cruises in the background during the Balikatan 2019 on Thursday off San Antonio, Zambales. The amphibious exercise, facing the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, involves hundreds of Philippine and American troops to hone their skills in "tactics, techniques and procedures." Bulitt Marquez, AP Photo

MANILA- Filipino troops stand to lose "a lot" of military training from the United States once Manila terminates its visiting forces agreement with Washington, Sen. Richard Gordon said Monday.

"That will be diminished. And I don't think we have enough intelligence fund to care for that," the senator told ANC's Headstart.

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Malacañang last week said President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered cabinet officials to notify the US on its intent to terminate the VFA.

Duterte first threatened to terminate the VFA over Washington’s cancellation of Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa’s visa.

While the President is the chief architect of foreign policy, the administration should inform the Filipinos of the full effects of abrogating the military accord, Gordon said.

"The public has the right to know. Our citizens have the right to know, since this is a very pro-US country," he said.

"The Senate should speak up as representatives of the people to find out what is the reason for this," he added.

The VFA came into force in 1999 and covers the conduct of American soldiers in the Philippines.

It is among military agreements between the Philippines and the US, which also include the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which allows greater rotational presence of US troops in the country; and the Mutual Defense Treaty which requires one to defend the other in case of an attack on its territory.

A provision in the VFA mandates a party to notify the other regarding its intent to withdraw from the pact at least 180 days before its effectivity.

Gordon said government officials should think of the country's welfare first before terminating the VFA as he highlighted the help the Philippines receives from American troops.

"We should think of ourselves first before the Americans," he said.

"The point is always look at ourselves first. What are we fighting for? Who's gonna fight for us? Nobody's gonna fight for you."