Groups hit Aquino’s double standard treatment on US and China issue

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THE farm worker based Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Anakpawis party list today hit the highly selective and double standards of the Aquino administration on the issue of the continuing Chinese incursion into our territory and the US navy warship’s violation of Philippine laws and sovereignty by crashing into the Tubbataha reef.

There should be a balanced treatment of such incursion and violation when the PH government’s main reason in challenging China to the UN was “in defense of our national territory and maritime domain”.

Even if the US is considered an ally, it should act like one and should likewise be denounced if it infringes on our national sovereignty.

The US government makes fools of the Filipino people by asserting that the USS Guardian’s grounding, which is a minesweeper at that, was due to a faulty map. And those weapons of the distressed ship were not directed at Philippine government agencies which tried to help it. And what does the US government have to say about the ship’s officers’ statement to the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board when it warned of its intrusion to the area, “talk to the US Embassy instead.”

This is also not the first time that the US government has impinged on Philippine sovereignty by imposing among others that its military personnel should not be tried in Philippine courts and detained in local jails as provided by the VFA. One must still remember the spiriting away of the US Marine, James Smith who was convicted of raping a Filipina a few years ago, and of a military drone found off Masbate’s waters with the unconvincing reason given by US officials that it drifted away from Guam.

At the same time, it is not enough that the US government be fined for violating Philippine laws including damaging a world heritage site and marine sanctuary. Harsher sanctions must be imposed on the US government including filing a diplomatic protest, scrapping of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and or preventing US naval forces from entering Philippine waters. That is if the Philippine government has the political will to exercise its national sovereignty.

This is also what UMA and Anakpawis wants to reiterate. “The US apology and paying up for its destructive blunder in the Tubbataha reef are not enough. This is not the first and probably not the last incident whether it be a US warship and personnel involved in such violations of our sovereignty. UMA and Anakpawis is repeating its call for the junking of the Visiting Forces Agreement because that is the root cause of these incidents and abuses of US forces in our country”.

The Philippine government should be balanced in treating all countries that impinge on our national sovereignty whether they incur into our national territory or act as if they own the country, the two groups ended.

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