Press Release
February 21, 2021

National interest and welfare of all Filipinos are utmost priorities of PRRD, as the 'chief architect' of PH foreign policy, on decision on VFA, says Bong Go

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go said on Friday, February 19, that he will respect whatever decision President Rodrigo Duterte will make in regard to the Philippines' Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States of America.

As the chief architect of the country's foreign policy, Go said that Duterte has the prerogative to make such decision for the Philippines which, he stressed, is a "sovereign and an independent country".

"Alam mo, nirerespeto ko po ang...desisyon ng ating Pangulo as the Chief Architect of our foreign policy. Sovereign country naman po tayo and independent country ang Pilipinas," he said during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Northeastern Misamis General Hospital in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.

Go also assured all Filipinos that Duterte is only concerned about the national interest of the country and welfare of all Filipinos.

"So, kung ano po 'yung desisyon ng ating Pangulo, hindi naman po ibig sabihin ay maniningil ang Presidente. Kung ano lang po ang tama na kompensasyon para sa Pilipino," explained Go.

"At alam ninyo... para sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte, interes po at kapakanan ng bawat Pilipino ang mangunguna parati sa magiging desisyon natin para sa ating bayan," he further mentioned, adding that he and Duterte will not let Filipinos be taken advantage of.

"At hindi kami papayag na ma-agrabyado po ang Pilipino sa anumang kasunduan. So, interest of the Filipino people, always po 'yan priority namin ni Pangulong Duterte," he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier demanded compensation from the US government if it wanted to keep the PH-US VFA, a 1998 bilateral agreement which allows US troops to conduct joint military exercises with Filipino troops and humanitarian missions in the country. Duterte ordered last year the abrogation of the agreement, but suspended it due to the pandemic and "heightened superpower tensions."

Meanwhile, the new chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, said that the military respects the wisdom of Duterte as commander-in-chief regarding the VFA.

"I am a soldier, a good follower. The President is the commander-in-chief and I respect his wisdom," Sobejana said in an interview.

Sobejana added that the Philippine military should be able to stand alone and not become dependent on other countries.

"As an organization, as the AFP, we should be able to stand alone. If we are so dependent on other countries, hindi tayo ano, sinasabi natin na (we can't say) we should be on top of the situation always," he said.

When Duterte first proposed the abrogation of the VFA in February last year, Go expressed his confidence that the termination will be an opportunity for the country to assert sovereignty and reaffirm relations with the latter.

The Senator said that he believes the termination of the VFA "is a chance for us to write a new and better chapter in Philippines-United States relations. We should now be able to renew our friendship, reaffirm our ties and resume cooperation as true co-equals."

In a statement then, Go said that he also understands and respects the opposing views of his colleagues with regard to the position of the President to terminate the VFA.

"We are a separate branch of government and it is the right of each senator to express their views. After all, we are a working democracy," he said.

"Despite some differences in opinions, the Senate as a whole has been very supportive of the legislative agenda of President Duterte," he added.

News Latest News Feed