Youth groups slam VFA

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Kabataan Party-list called on the Senate to stand for national sovereignty and terminate all lopsided treaties with the US during the Senate’s review of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

“In the course of its review, the Senate should carefully consider the VFA’s detrimental effect on our national sovereignty and the Filipinos affected by the agreement. The VFA overturns the Senate’s own decision in 1991 when it voted to remove US bases from the country,” said the Kabataan Party-list in a statement on Friday.

Kabataan Partylist condemned such act of state violence initiated by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

President Rodrigo Duterte, instead of abrogating the VFA and standing up for public safety, normalized a culture of police brutality, victimizing thousands of Filipino people since the start of his term in 2016 and justifying multiple violent dispersals of pickets and protests, the group said.

Youth groups held a lightning rally in front of the United State Embassy in Manila to denounce the VFA and call for its immediate abrogation earlier this week.

The PNP swiftly came to the defense of the United States which resulted to a violent dispersal and brutally manhandling and illegally arresting a minor from Anakbayan, said the militant group.

The continuing presence of VFA, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) —an agreement between the United States and the Philippines intended to bolster the U.S.–Philippine alliance—- and other lopsided treaties between the two countries, have been major facilitators of multiple human rights violations versus the public, the group said.

The VFA in particular, through President Duterte’s administration, gives indefinite and limitless access of US military troops in our lands — allowing them to set their military bases all over the Philippine islands.

This heavyhanded response to a militant protest versus lopsided treaties is proof positive that the Duterte administration and his cronies remain firmly on the side of the US, the group said./Stacy Ang

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