Legarda said the congress is duty bound to review VFA treaty

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, November 10, 2010-Senator Loren Legarda said that Congress is duty-bound to review the treaty which cited various contentious provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the United States (US) and the Philippines.


The Legislative Oversight Committee on the VFA (LOVFA) which she co-chairs must be mandatory to review VFA treaty to ensure that provisions of the agreement would not be disadvantageous to the country.


The Senator considered these in the light of the numerous calls for action on reported inequities and legal questions characterizing the agreement, stressing that they shall ask the Presidential Commission on the VFA to immediately forward to them its comprehensive report on the implementation of the agreement covering the past 11 years.


They will also request stakeholders concerned to share with them their views toward generating a very comprehensive review that will allow them to come up with a decision that will serve the best interest of the Filipino people. 


“To achieve a genuine fine-tuning, divisive provisions of the agreement must be identified including the issue of jurisdiction on military personnel accused in a criminal case, the kind of activities that the US Military may undertake with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the duration of such exercises, which must only be temporary,” she explained, adding that the Philippines considered the VFA a treaty and was duly ratified by the Philippine Senate, “however, the US did not consider it a treaty and did not send the same to the US Senate for concurrence, she added.


Legarda concluded that they need to know how this affects the enforcement of the agreement wherein they will keep in their minds that in reviewing the VFA, or any bilateral agreement, they should be guided by two main principles. It must be constitutional and for the national interest, adding that they have to ensure that the agreement would lead towards the enhancement of the welfare of the people. (Jason de Asis)