Robredo on Duterte’s ‘pay for VFA’ remark: ‘Parang extortion lang’
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo likened to extortion the demand of President Rodrigo Duterte for the United States to “pay” if it wants to continue its Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the Philippines.
“Parang extortion lang… Parang ano eh, parang kriminal eh. ‘Kung gusto mo nito, magbayad ka muna’,” Robredo said in her weekly radio show BISErbisyong LENI.
Robredo said abrogation of the VFA should be for the benefit of the country, and not because of the failure of the U.S. to pay.
“Para sa akin, iyong pagkakaibigan natin with the U.S. many generations ago, mayroon tayong shared history, na hindi naman ganiyan iyong pag-treat ng ating mga partners,” Robredo said.
“Para sa akin, parang nakakahiya. Nakakahiya na iyong ano ko nga, parang… parang nag-eextort tayo. So sa akin, kapag sinabi nating ayaw nating i-renew iyong VFA, ilatag natin kung bakit. Ipakita natin bakit hindi siya nakakabuti sa atin. Hindi iyong pera iyong consideration,” the Vice President added.
The relationship between the two countries, Robredo said, should be based on mutual benefit and not money.
Duterte on Friday demanded that the United States “pay” if they want to continue its VFA with the Philippines.
“I would like to put on notice if there’s an American agent here that from now on, you want the Visiting Forces Agreement done? Well, you have to pay,” Duterte said in his speech at the inspection of newly delivered air assets at the Clark Air Base in Pampanga.
“It’s a shared responsibility but your share of responsibility does not come free because after all when the war breaks out, we all pay,” he added.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier said the Philippines and the U.S. will meet this month to iron out differences over the VFA.
This, after the Philippines, suspended for the second time Duterte’s decision to terminate the pact that provides the legal framework under which US troops can operate on a rotational basis in the Philippines.
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