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Old 02-12-2020, 06:32 AM
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Exclamation Philippine military backs defense divorce from U.S.

Philippine military backs defense divorce from U.S.
By: Reuters & World News - By: Karen Lema & Martin Petty


MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippine military on Wednesday stood by the president’s decision to scrap a security agreement with the United States, saying the country could now develop its own defense capabilities and alliances, and would do fine without it.

The military chief backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s termination of the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and said doing so would allow the Philippines to expand its modernization program and its engagement with Australia and Japan - both U.S. allies.

Armed forces commander, General Felimon Santos, said planes and ships were being procured from countries other than the United States, such as South Korea, while Filipinos were now “doing the leg work” on intelligence gathering on Islamist extremists.

“You know these sentiments of soldiers, we are all high morale,” he told reporters. “It will make us more eager to build up our own capabilities.”

Despite his defense and foreign ministers last week speaking favorably of the VFA, Duterte’s decision was not a complete surprise given his disdain for the Philippines’ close ties with Washington and what he sees as subservience to an abusive and hypocritical former colonial ruler.

He has been determined to build a strong relationship with China, despite a history of diplomatic friction, and some unease among a U.S.-leaning defense apparatus wary about Beijing’s militarization and island-building in the South China Sea.

Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said U.S. disagreement with the firebrand president’s move was motivated by its own strategic interests, and that it was time for the Philippines to be militarily independent.

“Reliance on another country for our own defenses against the enemies of the state will ultimately weaken and stagnate our defense mechanisms,” Panelo said in a statement. “We must stand on our own and put a stop to being a parasite to another country in protecting our independence and sovereignty.”

But the move defies domestic opinion, with polls consistently showing Filipinos’ mistrust of China and strong approval of the United States, where millions of their relatives live, including those of some of Duterte’s cabinet ministers.

The VFA is the legal framework for the thousands of rotating U.S. troops involved in as many as 300 joint exercises a year in the Philippines. Some lawmakers hope it can be saved in the 180 days before the termination takes effect, and worry that without it, two other U.S. military agreements will be irrelevant.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday said the decision was a move in the wrong direction at a time when Washington and its Asian allies were trying to press China to abide by “international rules of order”.

Duterte’s spokesman Panelo rejected that, calling it “a move in the right direction that should have been done a long time ago”.

Duterte’s opponents are dismayed and see the move as his personal favor to China, among them former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario, who called his decision “incomprehensible and harmful”.

“What is unfolding before us must be considered a national tragedy which should be resisted,” he said.


Personal note: How quick you forget the mess you were in during WWII. Of course the majority of people living there now - didn't live during those times. The U.S. bailed you out and as you were being over taken by the Japanese & tortured terribly. China runs their country much different than the US - We don't run your country we only occupy Air & Naval Support areas that we pay PI for using. We also bring in U.S. Dollars which also benefit the political gang in office. I also suspect not all the People in PI want us to leave. I was in PI and the people there we great and they liked us and of course our money. If we leave who will they allow in after we're gone. It will be a very tough proposition for you to convert over to China values. And to here your leader favors China over the US isn't going to happen - if you don't want it to. Your people will loose your identities and fall under China rule. They will clean out your the current political offices and instill their own people.

The freedom's you now have will be lost forever. Communism will be your new culture and you sure as hell won't like that!

Philippeno's you all have to think real hard about making this transition. IT'S YOUR CALL. It will not be easy OR pleasant to fall under a Communistic System. Your Freedom's will fall far short - of what you have now. But here too! Once again - "It's your call."


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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