Contingency defense plan needed in view of VFA abrogation – Biazon

Published January 30, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Muntinlupa Rep. Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon said on Thursday the Department of National Defense (DND), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) need to draw up a contingency defense and security plan, following President Duterte’s decision to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between Manila and Washington.

Ruffy Biazon (FACEBOOK/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Ruffy Biazon (FACEBOOK/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The senior vice chairman of the House Committee on National Defense and Security said that with the termination of the VFA, the US might consider the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement as “obsolete.”

“With the scrapping of the VFA, there is a possibility that the United States will see the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement as becoming obsolete since the VFA is what makes the MDT dynamic and updated to meet current threats,” Biazon told the Manila Bulletin in a text message.

“If the decision of the President is final, then the next thing to do now is for the defense and security establishment to draw up the country’s defense and security plan under a scenario that does not include the United States since a huge component of Philippine defense and security, from training our troops to acquisition of defense articles, involves the close security relationship between the US and PH,” he said.

He said a “contingency” security plan is needed should the US distances itself from the Philippines following the termination of the VFA, which governs the movement of US vessels, aircraft, and troops visiting the country.

In a media interview during the 69th founding anniversary celebration of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Quezon City on Wednesday night, President Duterte said his decision to terminate the 1999 security pact was final, saying that he was doing it for all Filipinos, not just for Senator Dela Rosa.

“I would assume that the latest statement of the President was made with the guidance of the Cabinet with regard to the legal and strategic defense aspect which was supposed to have been reviewed and submitted last week,” Biazon said.

He said the snowballing concerns about the impact of the termination of the VFA on the country’s security landscape should prod President Duterte’s security cluster to provide comprehensive review on its security implications.

“The concern about the impact on the country’s defense capability and security strategy was already raised by several quarters and I hope that the Department of National Defense, the National Security Adviser, as well as the Armed Forces of the Philippines were able to give a comprehensive review on the impact of terminating the VFA with regard to our defense posture and other defense agreements and treaties with the US,” Biazon said.

President Duterte also announced that he would prohibit Cabinet members from visiting the United States “indefinitely” as part of toning down the Philippines’ interaction with the US.

 
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