Published: January 18, 2013
The damage to the coral of Tubbataha reefs, a World Heritage Site, caused by the running aground of US ship USS Guardian (MCM 5) highlights the need to junk the Visiting Forces Agreement. US troops are pests to the country’s seas, land and airspace, destroying lives, properties and the environment.
The US and the Aquino government have used the VFA as a license to make the Philippines a playground for US military forces, a place where US troops can roam freely by land, sea and air without limits and without fear of being held accountable for flouting Philippine laws.
US troops have participated in combat operations against Filipino insurgents while US drone planes have been allowed to fly within the country’s airspace. The Tubbataha reefs’ destruction shows that US military forces are also freely sailing in the country’s seas.
No self-respecting country will allow its sovereignty to be insulted and trampled upon by the unrestricted movement of another country’s military forces within its territory. No self-respecting country will take the destruction of its natural resources by foreign military forces lightly.
That the USS Guardian was actually not permited to pass by the Tubbataha reefs and that park rangers from the Tubbataha Reef National Maritime Park were not allowed to board the ship show the insulting extent to which US military forces have been violating Philippine laws and sovereignty.
Pres. Noynoy Aquino has surpassed previous presidents as far as puppetry to the US is concerned. This is shown by the extent of the free movement of US troops within Philippine territory on the one hand and by the Aquino government’s coverup of infractions of the country’s laws committed by US troops.
Reference: Nitz Gonzaga, KMU vice-chair for women’s affairs, 0928-2794241