US wants to block security aid to PH? Dela Rosa says we can also pull out of Edca
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Thursday brushed off the reignited bid in the United States Congress to block the security aid to Manila as he broached the idea of the Philippines withdrawing from its Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) with the US.
The proposed measure, which wants to block any assistance to the Philippine military and police until the government ensures that perpetrators of human rights abuses are held accountable, has been refiled in the US House of Representatives.
READ: Bill in US Congress ties PH aid to prosecution of rights violators
But dela Rosa said he might match that with a resolution seeking to pull the country out of the Edca – a defense pact that allows troops from both countries to conduct joint exercises and grants the US access to more military bases in the Philippines.
READ: Deeper defense ties with US: What it means for PH
“O sige, putulin niyo. Ihinto rin namin iyong Edca rito. Huwag na kayo mag-exercise dito. Ginagamit niyo lang kami para sa pag-raid ninyo sa Taiwan. Tapos ngayon, anong klaseng relationship ito? One way? Your way lang? We cannot have our own way–iyong sa Pilipinas?” the senator said in an online news briefing.
(Okay, cut the aid. We’ll also put a stop to Edca here. We’ll stop conducting exercises here. You’re just using us, so you can raid Taiwan. And now, what kind of relationship is this? One way? Just your way? We cannot have the Philippines’ way?)
The former national police chief also downplayed the aid the Philippines receives from the US, saying he barely feels it.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila has warned the Philippines against opening up additional Edca sites with the US government, saying this will “seriously harm Philippine national interests and endanger regional peace and stability.”
READ: China: New Edca sites to ‘seriously harm’ PH
Aside from its maritime tensions with Beijing over the South China Sea, self-ruled Taiwan is also under threat of being reclaimed by China.
Last week, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. confirmed that four additional Edca sites will be scattered around the Philippines despite earlier objections from local governments which, he claimed, have since been resolved.
READ: Marcos firm on new Edca sites amid China warning
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