Press Release
November 12, 2009


The visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should be an opportune time for the Palace to bring up controversial provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the United States, opposition Senator Chiz Escudero said yesterday.

He said that Clinton's expressed solidarity with the Philippines would be superficial if the US continues to assert the unequal clauses in the agreement, including the issue of jurisdiction over crimes committed by visiting US troops in the country.

"The case of US Lance Corporal Daniel Smith says it all. As the first serious woman candidate of the US, Hillary Clinton is an inspiration for women everywhere, and it is ironic that the VFA is so glaringly anti-women, particularly in the case of Smith," said the senator.

The termination of the US Bases in 1991 eventually led the Philippines and the US to come up with the VFA in 2001, including the annual holding of joint military exercises. Escudero also said the Palace should ask the US to ensure that there are no nuclear weapons in US ships entering the country.

The constant influx of US military troops - particularly as a consequence of the VFA - has raised suspicions that US vessels entering the country may be carrying nuclear weapons, which is a clear violation of the constitution.

"We need to replace the VFA with a treaty that will allow the Philippines to inspect all incoming aircraft, vessels, and ships belonging to the US military, and for them to provide a detailed inventory of weapons and equipment it will bring to the country for operations," said the senator, adding that the Philippines has the right to reject entry of US vessels do not comply with requests for inspections and inventories.

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