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No to VFA with other foreign powers — Brosas

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Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas on Thursday said the looming termination of the country’s Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States should not be used as pretext for any new military agreements with other foreign powers, specifically with China or Japan.

This “would keep the country mendicant to military aid and hand-me-down equipment,” the Makabayan lawmaker said.

She said the lessons from the years of US-Philippines military relations should make this clear: “Joint exercises, unli-entry of foreign troops and pre-positioning of military assets have not improved our external defense capabilities.”

“Instead, these exposed Filipino women to rape, sexual abuse and numerous rights violations,” Brosas said.

“We particularly condemn the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for shamelessly flaunting their eagerness to entertain a new master in military relations,” she said.

“Forging a new VFA to allow new foreign military partners to conduct war games on our soil only exposes the hypocrisy of President Duterte’s rants to supposedly assert Philippine sovereignty,” Brosas said.

“In fact, the President should also repel Beijing’s military buildup in the West Philippine Sea as well as the expansion of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) near our military bases. It should scrap the deal with the China-backed Dito Telecommunity to construct their facilities inside AFP camps,” she said.

“Gabriela Women’s Party strongly demands an independent foreign policy especially in military relations – one that is hinged on self-reliant development of our defense capabilities, and not patterned after the lopsided VFA,” Brosas said.