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Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty should be scrapped —Makabayan solons

The Makabayan bloc lawmakers on Monday sought the termination of the 1952 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the Philippines and the United States, saying that the country must pursue an independent foreign policy.

House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro of ACT Teachers party-list, Assistant Minority Leader Arlene Brosas of Gabriela party-list and Kabataan party-list Representative Raoul Manuel of Kabataan party-list made the call under their House Resolution 744 filed four days after the Philippines and the US agreed to designate four new sites in strategic areas of the country under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). 

“The MDT between the Philippines and the US has been anything but 'mutual'. Rather, it has become a means for the US to assert its economic and military powers globally by using its network of defense agreements between many countries, including the Philippines,” Resolution No. 744 read.

The measure pushed for the termination of the 1951 treaty for being "detrimental, rather than beneficial, to the Philippines and our national sovereignty and for running counter to the principle of independent foreign policy."

The lawmakers said that the MDT is a one-sided deal in favor of the Americans and has since paved the way for the signing of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in 1999 and EDCA in 2014.

The VFA provides the legal basis and status protections for US military and civilian personnel in the Philippines.  The EDCA authorizes US forces' access to agreed locations in the Philippines on a rotational basis.

The Makabayan lawmakers cited Section 7 Article 2 of the Constitution which states that the the government should “pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states, the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination.”

They also noted the concerns raised US analysts that war may erupt between the US and China amid Taiwan's dispute with the latter, and the Philippines should not be dragged into it.

“The issues of the US against different countries, especially that against China, will strain our economic relations with such countries, as the MDT can be invoked by the US in forcing the Philippines' hand to side with the US and to ultimately use our resources and even our territory to fight against the US' enemies,” the resolution said.—LDF, GMA Integrated News