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Robredo hits admin’s reckless termination of VFA: Triggered sa visa pero sa virus petiks lang?

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Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday (February 12) criticized the decision of the Duterte administration to hastily terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) without consulting sectors that will be affected by the scrapping of the deal.

Robredo pointed out that the administration’s swift action in terminating a treaty seemed misplaced—questioning why such urgency wasn’t seen in the government’s response amid mounting concerns over coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“Iyong agarang pagdesisyon ng pamahalaan kinakailangan para maproteksyunan iyong kalusugan ng mga mamamayan pero naghintay pa ng ilang araw bago nagdesisyon,” Robredo said in an interview in Pili, Camarines Sur.

“Pero ito, parang sinantabi iyong pakikiusap ng AFP, ng Senate, ng iba pang mga opisyal ng pamahalaan. Nagdesisyon kaagad,” she said.

The Vice President also asked whether the termination of VFA was indeed done over the cancellation of a close administration ally’s visa. Because if that’s the case, Robredo said it would be wrong to sacrifice the country’s national security over an ally’s personal issue.

“Hindi ko maintindihan kung ano iyong dahilan. Isang bagay na kailangang pag-aralan nang mabuti, isang bagay na kailangang pagdiskusyunan muna, bakit minamadali? Minamadali ba dahil sa galit na hindi napagbigyan iyong mga kaalyado? Galit dahil sa may kinanselang visa? Parang hindi ito tama na iyong security ng ating bansa iyong nakataya,” she said.

Robredo, who supports a review of the VFA and other defense pacts, said the adminitration should have heeded the advice of experts and sectors who will bear the brunt of the termination before deciding to do so.

“Ang hinihingi lang natin sana pag-aralan nang maayos. Ano ba naman iyong upuan at pakinggan iyong kaisipan ng iba’t ibang mga sektor,” she said.

Last January, President Duterte renewed threats to terminate the agreement as he demanded the US to rectify the cancellation of former police chief Senator Bato dela Rosa’s visa within a month.

Weeks after Duterte’s pronouncement, the Philippines—upon the orders of Duterte—formally sent the notice of termination to the US despite calls from lawmakers for a review of the agreement.

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