By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said that he supports the
decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to suspend the abrogation of the
Philippines’ Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States of
America for another six months.
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”. He
highlighted the importance to show respect for sovereign equality and
that an alliance should mean treating each other as partners.
“Ako naman po ay sang-ayon dun dahil nasa gitna pa tayo ng pandemya.
As the chief architect of the foreign policy, ang pagkakilala ko po
kay Pangulong Duterte, binabalanse po niya lahat. Inuuna niya po
interes ng bawat Pilipino, interes ng ating bayan,” said Go during an
interview after he attended the launch of the 120th Malasakit Center
at the San Lazaro Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Manila.
“Nasa gitna pa tayo ng pandemya. Maaaring mahirap in the middle po na
biglang i-pull out. Maaaring marami pang maitulong sa atin ang
Amerika. Maaaring makakatulong din sila sa atin sa supply ng bakuna so
i-set aside muna natin ang usapin sa VFA,” explained the Senator.
Go also mentioned that there is no urgency in terminating the VFA for
now, adding that negotiations between the Philippines and the United
States can still happen within the six-month suspension which could
result in further improving foreign relations to aid in the country’s
“Ito po ang panahon na magtutulungan tayo. Di po ito panahon na
maghihiwa-hiwalay tayo,” said Go.
“Kung maaari sa six months na ‘yan, maaaring pwede pang pag-usapan pa
na meron pang magagandang idudulot o maitutulong ang US, lalo na sa
kampanya laban sa COVID-19, very much welcome po ito. Kung
makakatulong sa mahihirap makakatulong sa mga kababayan natin,” he
Asked if he personally supports the termination of the VFA, Go said
that, as a Senator, he will choose the interest and welfare of all
“I will decide as Senator kung darating po sa amin ‘yan para i-ratify.
Magdedesisyon po ako. Pero rest assured ang desisyon ko ay para sa
interes at kapakanan ng bawat Pilipino,” he concluded.
Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said that the
suspension will be extended for another six months as Duterte
“studies, and both sides further address his concerns regarding,
particular aspects of the agreement”.
This is the third time that the abrogation of the VFA was suspended by
The Philippine government first formally notified the United States
government of its intention to terminate the VFA on February 11 last
year, in line with Duterte’s independent foreign policy.
Last February, Duterte expressed that United States must “pay” a toll,
if it wants to keep the agreement with the Philippines. Both countries
are also treaty allies. (AI/MTVN)