First of 2 parts
PRESIDENT Duterte should forget about the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and whether he should abrogate or charge the Americans for it. He should instead junk the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), the new form, and a much more cost-effective way for the United States to have its military bases back in the Philippines. EDCA was the end-product of the Yellows’ Sinophobia, which the US helped whip up to a frenzy that there was little resistance to it when it was instituted in 2014.
The VFA merely establishes the legal framework governing the US military when they are here for joint exercises with the Philippine military, which is allowed under the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951. For instance, the US marine convicted of murder and rape was imprisoned in a special military facility approved by the Americans and not in the national penitentiary, which the VFA allowed.
On the other hand, the EDCA practically restored US military basing in the Philippines, with the country’s five military camps to be used by Americans for prepositioning its war materiel and staging ground for its troops going to battle whenever the Americans say they need to do this. EDCA in effect allows the US a cheaper, as-needed military base in the Philippines.(more…)