Press Release
January 28, 2006


Senator Manny Villar, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, says that the peoples sentiments and stand on whether to continue the countrys visiting forces agreement (VFA) should also be taken into consideration.

Earlier last week, the Legislative Oversight Committee on the VFA (LOVFA) adopted the resolution filed by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago expressing the sense of the Congress that notice of termination should be served to pave the way for the renegotiation of the VFA.

Villar, a member of the LOVFA, supported the Congress panels concurrence on the matter and cited that the quantifiable and unquantifiable benefits that the Philippine military has been getting by virtue of the VFA cannot justify the pacts continuation.

The LOVFA has upheld the move to scrap the VFA and the peoples sentiments seem to echo our sentiments on the matter if we were to refer to the survey that has been recently released, says Villar, President of the Nacionalista Party.

Villar is referring to the survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey result that cites that the enthusiasm about US military help has declined since only one-third of respondents are now saying that the country gets much benefit from the joint military exercises with the US or the Balikatan Exercises, compared with two-thirds in 2003.

Villar cites, So even if VFA supporters were saying that we are getting $7 million to $8 million worth of benefits from the Balikatan exercises, the people seem to could not care less. And according to SWS, the survey was done even before the publics outrage about the Subic rape case.

The SWS survey also cites that the public's net trust rating of the United States ranged between 18 and 37 percent last year historic lows for the Filipinos' favorite foreign country.

If it were not for the hype brought on by the alleged rape of a Filipina in Subic by American soldiers, we would not have discovered the biased or lopsided provisions under the VFA. The VFA issue was also adversely affected by the US governments refusal to give our government custody of the four US Marines who are suspects in the Subic rape case, adds Villar.

News Latest News Feed