Militant women’s organization GABRIELA slammed United States President Donald Trump after the American leader said the US stands to save money from the termination of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
“US imperialism has benefited immensely in its military intervention in the Philippines,” said Joms Salvador, GABRIELA Secretary General, in statement on Friday.
Women’s alliance GABRIELA has taken exception to the statement of Trump that his government stands to save money from the termination of the VFA.
“Trump insults us further by saying they lose money from their military interventions in their neocolonies like the Philippines. In fact, their military adventures are precisely aimed at protecting their economic interests in these regions,” said Salvador.
Salvador further said that under the VFA, the US military has benefited from many perks and privileges accorded to its military and civilian personnel for two decades.
Among them are tax-free importation of equipments, supplies and materiel used by US military and civilian personnel, free entry of military aircraft and vessels for refueling, rest and recreation and military exercises, and visa-free entry for US personnel into the country.
When the Enhanced Defense Cooperation or EDCA, which Duterte is still mum about terminating, took effect in 2014, the US government has enjoyed additional perks such as lease-free and tax-exempt use of land, public utilities and construction supplies for building and maintaining US military bases and for stockpiling war materiel in several locations all over the Philippines.
“The continued presence of the US armed forces in our land only reinforces their country’s stranglehold on our economy. It ensures that regime upon regime follow neoliberal prescriptions such as further liberalization or opening up of our country to foreign plunder,” Salvador added.
Among such policies is the Rice Liberalization Law, which Duterte signed exactly a year ago today.
“Whatever Duterte’s motives for ordering its termination, its clear for us that VFA must end. But it is also clear that Duterte continues to abide by US dictates on our economy. Worse, he now continues to warm up to another imperialist master in China,” Salvador also said.
Since its signing in 1999, GABRIELA campaigned for the termination of VFA, as well as other lopsided agreements with the US such as the EDCA and the Mutual Defense Treaty./Stacy Ang