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Suspension of US security aid to PH ‘not only our loss but theirs as well’ — Lacson

/ 12:43 PM September 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The suspension of security assistance provided by the United States to the Philippines “will not only be our loss but theirs as well,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said Friday after a bill seeking to do so was introduced to the US Congress.

While Lacson, chair of the Senate national defense committee, recognized the prerogative of members of the US Congress to file legislative measure “under any circumstances,” he pointed out that majority of the security aid Washington extends to the Philippines is used for counter-terrorism efforts.

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Pennsylvania Rep. Susan Wild recently sponsored the proposed Philippine Human Rights Act before the US Congress. The measure seeks to halt police and military assistance to the Philippines until the government has made “certain reforms to the military and police forces”

“As in our case, it will have to go through the mill of first reading and referral, committee hearings and floor debates,” Lacson said in a statement.

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“If adopted and approved, the said bill…will not only be our loss but theirs as well, considering that a major part of the security assistance being extended to the Philippines is used to combat terrorism, which knows no borders and timing. And they know that for a fact,” he added.

Further, Lacson said US lawmakers may have to consider the existing Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between Manila and Washington in deliberating on the bill.

“They may have to resolve that as a legal issue in their deliberations,” he said.

VFA, which was ratified by the Senate in 1999, governs the conduct of US troops who take part in military exercises in the Philippines.

In February, the Philippines pulled out from the military accord but later on suspended the agreement’s abrogation for six months last June.

READ: PH walks back, suspends VFA termination ‘upon the President’s instruction’

The suspension of the VFA termination is “extendible by the Philippines for another six months.”

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TAGS: counter terrorism, Features, Global Nation, security aid, Senator Panfilo Lacson, US Congress bill
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