Where real treason lies
We take strong exception to the Jan. 30 Inquirer editorial titled “Restoring US presence.”
The editorial fails to take into account the historical lessons in our relationship with the United States and reduces the movement to oust the US bases as the product of mere “emotionalism” rather than a conscious and necessary assertion of national sovereignty and national interest.
Booting out the bases—a call advocated by such patriotic stalwarts as Claro M. Recto, Lorenzo Tañada Sr. and Jose W. Diokno—was premised on concrete problems involving sovereignty and various social issues. History has shown that it was the correct decision.
The editorial then goes on to foster the illusion of mutuality in Philippine-US relations, seemingly oblivious to the historical track record that the United States in its relations with our country. The very foundation of these relations, the so-called Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) are already devoid of mutuality and reciprocity. The United States has used these one-sided agreements to advance its own agenda in the region while violating our Constitution (prohibition of permanent basing, custody of convicted US troops) and providing US military junk as consolation prize for the Armed Forces of the Philippines. How then can the Philippines expect a “more mature accord in which security threats and benefits are shared fairly and equitably” when these one-sided pacts remain? The Philippine government hasn’t even disclosed the results of its review of the VFA yet here it is asking for more US troops to be stationed in our country.
The editorial also gives too much premium on US military aid despite the fact that after 60 years of the MDT, the AFP has miserably failed to modernize. It is our dependence on the United States which has made us weak as a nation. This will not change this, even if we receive one, two or three decommissioned Vietnam-era patrol boats. If anything, it would only show how the Philippine government has cheapened the concept of sovereignty in exchange for US “excess defense articles.”
Bayan has put on record its desire for a peaceful resolution of the maritime and territorial disputes in the region, and is vehemently opposed to any use or threat of force from any party, including China. We cannot, however, turn a blind eye to the real intent of the United States—that of taking advantage of the dispute to advance its own self-serving interests at the expense of regional peace and national sovereignty.
To support US hegemonism in the guise of mutuality and at the expense of national sovereignty, perhaps, that is the real treason.
—RENATO M. REYES JR.,
secretary general, Bayan,
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