Senator Imee R. Marcos on Tuesday said servicemen in American ships currently in the contested South China Sea (SCS) should not be allowed to disembark in Philippine ports because of the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Marcos, chairwoman of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee, said there have been many instances that American military personnel on board warships are infected with coronavirus disease.
Okinawan authorities have complained about a high COVID-19 infection rate in US bases in the Japanese territory.
Okinawa is part of a ring of American military bases positioned in the western Pacific region.
Marcos said Philippine medical and quarantine officials must be strict in implementing the country’s anti-COVID protocols on these American military service personnel.
“There are at present several American warships in the South China sea. These warships will one day find port and to replenish their supply. The nearest friendly ports are in the Philippines,’’ she pointed out.
“Even with the still valid (RP-US) VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement), the Philippines should not allow the disembarkation of American military personnel because of COVID concerns,’’ she added.