As the Senate probes the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States, Senator Dick Gordon stressed that Philippine foreign policy must be dictated by the nation’s needs and pointed out that national security is what “ultimately matters.”

“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,” Gordon said.

“The military will be all air and no force, and all coast and no guard if the VFA will be abolished.”

The veteran legislator underscored the importance of the VFA and said that the military “will be all air and no force, and all coast and no guard” if the agreement will be abolished.

“We have to look at the interest of our nation.”

“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 nation,” the seasoned lawmaker said.

The senator also pointed out that more equipment from other countries could have been bought when the U.S. military was still in the country, which could have strengthened the capabilities of the armed forces.

“If we were beefing up our military when the U.S. 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. took effect in 1999 with the 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 effectivity of the VFA, the U.S. has been providing military support to the Philippines in such areas as counter-terrorism, and assisting in the country’s internal security operations.


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