FOR Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) does not weaken the country’s security and territorial interest in the West Philippines Sea.
Speaking to the media during the Lifeline Assistance for Neighbors In-Need (LANI) scholarship orientation held in Taguig, Cayetano cited that the United States does not take sides in any territorial disputes involving the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea and its priority is freedom of navigation.
He also noted that the US did not ratify the UNCLOS, which in turn is the basis of Philippine sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.
“The Americans did not stop the Chinese from building kahit na may Mutual Defense Treaty at kahit na mayroon tayong VFA, kasi ang stand nila [ay] freedom of navigation. Hindi stand ng mga Amerikano that [that] belongs to the Philippines or the UNCLOS [United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea],” Cayetano said.
“The Americans did not ratify the UNCLOS. So, kung sasabihin niyo mawi-weaken tayo sa West Philippine Sea dahil walang VFA, hindi totoo ‘yun,” he added.
However, with the training equipment provided by the US and the camaraderie shown by its forces, the Philippines is able to strengthen its forces.
He said that since the VFA termination, he has been conducting meetings with some officers of the Armed Forces including Philippine Army and Philippine Navy to discuss how the government can support them.
“We’ll take advantage na wala ‘yung VFA to appeal to the President na Horizon 1, ‘yung dun sa modernization, i-expand,” Cayetano said.