Robredo on Duterte’s threat vs VFA: ‘Hindi iyon nakakatulong’
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday opposed President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent threat to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US, saying intimidation over vaccine procurement is not helpful if there is no basis.
In a previous speech, Duterte said he will continue the abrogation of VFA if the US fails to produce at least 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines.
“Hindi ko alam kung bakit kinakailangang gawin iyon. Hindi naman tayo kailangang magbanta, ‘di ba. Hindi tayo kailangang magbanta kung nasa ayos naman iyong—‘di ba. Kung nasa ayos naman iyong programa natin sa procurement ng vaccine, bakit kailangang may bantaan tayong bansa?” said Robredo over her radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni” with anchor Ely Saludar on RMN-dzXL 558 kHz, reacting to Duterte’s threat to terminate the VFA.
(I really don’t know why he needs to do that. We don’t need to make threats, right? There is no need for threats. If we already have a program for procurement of vaccines, why do we need to make threats?)
“Hindi iyon kinakailangan. Lalo lang—alam mo, Ka Ely, maraming mga bagay na hindi natin kailangan at this point and iyong makipag-away na wala namang basehan, hindi iyon makakatulong,” she added.
(It isn’t needed. Especially because we have so many issues that we don’t need at this point and starting a fight with no basis, it isn’t helpful.)
Duterte’s directive for the VFA termination was made last February after Senator Ronald Bato dela Rosa’s US visa was revoked.
However, in June, the country backtracked from the VFA abrogation that was supposed to take effect in August because of “political and other developments in the region.”
In November, Philippines suspended the effectivity of the termination, but negotiations continue for long-term agreement.
The VFA, which was ratified in 1999, allows coordination of defense forces of Philippines and US in training programs.
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