DAVAO CITY, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte urged on Friday to scrap the three-year old Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and to declare Lapu-Lapu a national hero.
The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) in a statement said that it is high time that Duterte should junk the US-Philippine military treaty which was signed under the Aquino administration.
EDCA, according to the group, is a supplemental agreement to the Visiting Forces Agreement that allows American soldiers to use the country’s land and facilities for free.
“Unequal military agreements like EDCA and VFA allow American troops to violate our sovereign and territorial rights as a nation. It also allows U.S. to store its military armaments in our soil, making us a ground zero and vulnerable to attacks by America’s state enemies,” said Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya chairperson said in a statement.
Hicap said the President must “put his words into actions by cutting ties with our long-time colonizer and exploiter, the United States of America.”
“Duterte’s previous pronouncements against the U.S. have yet to materialize since he recently allowed another Balikatan exercise between the Filipino and American troops to proceed next month in the guise of humanitarian and civil assistance,” he said.
Hicap perceived the return of U.S bases in the country as the “U.S pivot to Asia” which EDCA apparently became an instrument to allow the installation of military bases across the country.
“The return of U.S. bases and military presence in the country under the EDCA is part of U.S. Pivot to Asia that was a hegemonic strategy introduced by former U.S. President Barack Obama and now adopted and intensified by President Donald Trump,” Hicap pointed out.
Meanwhile, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate also called on the President to declare Lapu-lapu as a hero and declare April 27, the date of the Battle of Mactan as Lapu-lapu Day.
“In light of the declaration of Pres. Duterte that he will push for an independent foreign policy, it is but right to recognize Lapu-lapu as one of our national heroes in standing up against foreign intervention and invasion. Regardless of the controversies surrounding him, what is unquestionable is that Lapu-lapu is a shining example of patriotism, standing up for our territory and fighting subjugation,” said Zarate.
“Patriotism is much needed now in our country, especially in the so-called age of globalization where powerful countries overtly and covertly dictate the political, economic, military and cultural policies of developing countries like the Philippines. It is high time that the Filipino people should stand up against its present oppressors,” said Zarate. (davaotoday.com)