President Rodrigo Duterte, on Monday, said that US President Donald Trump is trying to “save” the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the US.
“Ngayon, I’ll make it public. Because public official ako. Si Trump, pati yung others, are trying to save the Visiting Forces Agreement. Sabi ko, ayaw ko” the president said in a speech before the local chief executives in Pasay City.
(Now, I’ll make it public. Because I am a public official. Trump, including others, is trying to save the Visiting Forces Agreement. I said no way.)
Duterte reiterated that the US has been interfering in the Philippines’ affairs, citing some senators who moved to cancel the US visa of those who supported Senator Leila de Lima’s imprisonment.
“One is that napakabastos ng Amerika. Sobrang bastos (America is so rude),” Duterte said. “Imagine demanding the release of De Lima under threat that we will not receive the aid at may kulatilya that all persons who had a hand in the imprisonment of De lima will not be allowed to go to the United States. P**** i**, ano bang nasa Amerika? (What’s so special about America?)”
Duterte says Trump is trying to save VFA
The President first threatened to revoke the VFA after Senator and former PNP Chief Bato Dela Rosa’s US visa was canceled. He also then banned Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts from entering the country.
Duterte also pointed out that the US was not helping the Philippines to fight communists.
“Alam mo (You know), we’ve been fighting the communists for 53 years. Kung nakatulong talaga ang Amerika, p…i…naman, hanggang ngayon?” Duterte lamented. (If America really helped us…[why are we still fighting the communists] at this time?)
The Philippines has received benefits from the US through the VFA including $267.75 million (P13.58 billion) from 2016 to 2019, $200 million (P10.14 billion) for aircraft, training, equipment, and construction for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, $45 million (P2.2 billion) in foreign military financing, and more.