Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday said the Philippines has the right to expect “lethal parity” measures in its mutual defense pact with the United States.
Locsin was echoing an earlier statement made by President Duterte asking America to “pay” the Philippines if it wants to continue the implementation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
The foreign secretary noted that when the Mutual Defense Treaty was entered into in 1951 between Manila and Washington, “it was assumed the Philippines could hold up its end of the bargain of mutual defense.”
But when World War II came, the US remained as the best-armed country up to the present while the Philippines was left in ruins more than what Warsaw, Poland suffered in devastation.
“So we had & have a right to expect some measure of lethal parity in the mutual defense,” Locsin said.
Earlier, Malacañang said the Philippines should get around $16 billion like what Pakistan had received in counterterrorism assistance from the US from 2001 to 2017 if it wants to push through with the VFA.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the Philippines had so far received only $3.9 billion from Washington over the same period of time.
In February last year, President Duterte ordered the abrogation of the VFA in an apparent response to the cancellation of the US visa of his staunch ally, former PNP chief turned Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.
In November 2020, however, Duterte suspended the abrogation and put the VFA under a six-month renewable status, until such time an agreement on certain features of the pact are settled between the two countries.
The VFA is a protocol to the MDT that provides, among others, measures on how to treat American military personnel stationed in the Philippines temporarily; lenient visa and passport procedures when they enter the Philippines and grants authority to the US government to retain jurisdiction over their military personnel if they ever commit crimes within the Philippines.