MANILA, Philippines — Despite alleged threats of terrorist attack, in connection with the death of the al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the League of Filipino Students (LFS) urged the Philippine government to junk the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
The VFA is a special treaty signed by the US and the Philippine governments in the early ‘90s as part of the strengthening scheme of Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP).
The LFS also rejected the idea of re-establishing the US bases here, saying that it would pose a grave threat to the national security and safety of the people.
“It has been 20 years since the Filipino people rejected US military bases in Subic. Nothing can justify the bases’ return, not even Aquino’s call to intensify security in the country, amid the death of purported al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden,” said LFS chairperson Terry Ridon, in a statement sent to this reporter.
The law student from the University of the Philippines also quipped that the US government’s “war on terror” has already claimed millions of lives and destroyed properties amounting to billions of dollars, but neither has stopped terror activities all over the world, nor had it dismantled organizations, tagged as terrorist fronts, the likes of al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah.
He also said that the plan of re-establishing the US bases here can also lead to a Constitutional crisis as it is considered direct intervention, by a foreign political power, to local affairs. The 1987 Philippine Constitution, Ridon said, prohibits such intervention.
“President Aquino, in reaction to the death of Osama, has expressed the importance of strengthening national security. This administration has adopted the 2009 US Counterinsurgency guide through Oplan Bayanihan, and through this, it has legitimized US intervention,” explained Ridon. (Noel Sales Barcelona)