'Stop whining,' Locsin says after PH sends notice of VFA termination

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr on Thursday, February 13, agreed with calls to reject visiting forces agreements with other countries after the Duterte government signed its formal notice it was terminating the Philippines' Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States.

"Time to pay our own way to our own sovereign defense," Locsin said as the Philippines was set to walk away from the 21-yeard-old defense pact with the US.

"President is right. No more VFA's even with other countries. We stand by our own guns by buying our own with a defense budget commensurate to the threats to our sovereignty. Anyone suggests alternative VFAs with potential aggressors gets slapped by me," Locsin tweeted.

"Time to grow up. Stop whining. Hindi tayo sioki (We're not gay)," he added in another tweet.

President is right. No more VFA's even w other countries. We stand by our own guns by buying our own w a defense budget commensurate to the threats to our sovereignty. Anyone suggests alternative VFAs with potential aggressors gets slapped by me. US will never be a threat. https://t.co/SRY02qqXKp — Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) February 13, 2020

Let's stop whining. We look weak if not fairy-like to potential aggressors in Southeast Asia. Our boys have fought our wars with not much in their hands; let our officials honour them by talking tough on their behalf against potential aggressors not former allies. https://t.co/yAkiuyZat0 — Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) February 13, 2020

… who by now should have been weaned from mother's milk. The sight of grown men sucking teats is pathetic. Mutual defense means both sides able to stand on their own and also stand by their ally. Time to grow up. Stop whining. Hindi tayo sioki. https://t.co/wUC7bnH0py — Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) February 13, 2020

Despite earlier pushing for a review of the VFA, rather than its outright termination, Locsin put in motion Duterte's words to end the decades-old military pact. The DFA chief sent formal notice to the US embassy in Manila on Tuesday, February 11, triggering a 180-day or 6-month countdown until the agreement would formally end.

Locsin's predecessor, Albert del Rosario, had said on Wednesday, February 12, that President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to end the VFA was a "national tragedy" that was harmful to Filipinos.

"This continuing shift in foreign policy casting aside a long time reliable ally in favor of an aggressive neighbor that has been blatantly demonstrating its lack of respect for international law is incomprehensible and harmful to our country and our people," Del Rosario said

For Locsin, terminating the VFA presented an opportunity for the Philippines to beef up its defense. He criticized calls to look for other countries to partner in defense with made the country "look weak if not fairy-like."

"Mutual defense means both sides able to stand on their own and also stand by their ally," he said.

Where it began. Duterte had broached the idea of terminating the VFA on January 23, a day after political ally Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa confirmed that his US visa had been canceled. Duterte then gave the US a month’s ultimatum to restore his former police chief’s visa.

Top officials had advised against ending the VFA, as it could compromise Philippine security and its relations with other countries. Among the country’s most pressing security threats included terrorism and China's expansionist claims in the West Philippine Sea where it harassed Filipino fishermen and militarized features.

Senators likewise urged Duterte to hold off the terminationuntil a thorough review of the agreement, along with its impact on the country's interests, was completed.

Aside from the US, the Philippines has a similar VFA with Australia that allows their troops to visit the country for joint activities. The Senate ratified the Status of Visiting Forces Agreement with Australia in September 2012.

During the Aquino administration, the Philippines and Japan in June 2015 also began discussions on a similar treaty that was expected to allow Japanese military access to the country's military bases. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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