Joint resolution filed vs VFA
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello yesterday filed a joint resolution seeking the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States following the reported dumping by a US contractor of untreated waste in Philippine waters.
According to the resolution, the act violated the agreement, Philippine laws and international norms and customs on the protection of the environment.
The resolution directs the foreign secretary to notify the United States of the termination.
Santiago and Bello criticized the VFA for being “replete with flaws,” which the Philippine and US governments have not rectified.
“If adopted, the joint resolution, although victimized by the President’s veto power, will become a historic compulsive force that can still gather together the broken pieces of national sovereignty shattered by the infirmity of the political leadership,” the resolution stated.
It said that one of the VFA’s flaws was that even though it was a “visiting” agreement, it had been in force for 13 years.
It also said it was of “notorious public knowledge” that the US special forces have established themselves as a base given their permanent presence in Zamboanga.
“These issues deserve to be communicated to the greater public in the context of congressional deliberations on the termination of the VFA,” it said.
Moreover, the VFA has become a “toxic waste phenomenon,” the resolution stated.
It noted the current investigation into Glenn Defense’s alleged dumping of waste in Philippine waters, where the latter invoked the protection of the VFA.
“Emphatically, the generation, production and subsequent dumping of toxic waste are clear violations of the VFA,” it said.
It pointed out that under the agreement, the United States is duty bound to respect the laws of the Philippines.
The joint resolution also stated that Glenn Defense’s act of dumping the waste in the Philippines was no longer an individual act.
“It is a breach of obligation in international law attributable to its principals, namely, the United States government,” it said.
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