The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should be able to stand alone even if the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States is abrogated.
“Well as an organization, as (the) AFP we should be able to stand alone because we cannot be so dependent on other countries. Ang sinasabi natin (what we say is) we should be on top of situation always so it is just a matter of allocating what we have, optimizing the utilization of our resources to make things happen, to solve problems, and achieve long and lasting peace and progress,” said AFP chief, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, in an interview with One News’ The Chiefs on Wednesday night.
Sobejana added the VFA is for the training of a large number of troops and that American personnel are never allowed or included in actual AFP operations.
” They are not actually included in actual operations. They are just providing us an enhancement of our capability because it is us who physically faces the enemies of the state,” he added in Filipino.
Also, Sobejana clarified that the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the US and the Philippines is still standing despite the talks about the VFA.
“The VFA is just one, meron pa tayong (we still have the) MDT with the United States, wala pa namang pinagusapan (there are no talks about it). The MDT remains so nandun pa rin yung ating relationship (our relationship remains). VFA lang naman yung binanggit ng ating Pangulo (It was only the VFA that was mentioned by the President). The MDT, as what I have said, remains and it shall continue to function as long as walang pagbabago sa usapan (there are no changes in the talks). Let’s differentiate VFA from MDT and in that treaty, it is explicitly cited that in times of aggression our allies, the US armed forces, in particular, will be on our side,” he added.