As you may have heard that the former Chief of Police and now Senator Bato dela Rosa, whom were dubbed as the ”architect” of Duterte’s violent and brutal state-sponsored mass slaughter of innocent civilians under the pretense of his War on Drugs or those keen in criticizing the regime or its oligarch allies, which now has far reached more than 27,000 people and counting.
Senator Bato Dela Rosa had thousands of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and even children killed either directly or indirectly through reckless firing of firearms by the police. Many of whom were murdered in cold-blood during violent and reckless police operations and or by masked men on motorcycles. The sad part of it, is that many of these killings has not even been fully investigated by the government — with even Duterte and his allies guiltily attempted to evade foreign authorities to impartially investigate Duterte’s War on Drugs.
Bato’s VISA cancelled under The Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA) and not the Global Magnitstky Act
Many of Duterte’s allies and supporters speculated that this ban might have been due to the recent passage of law prohibiting the entry of Sen Leila De Lima’s persecutors and those who willingly covered up the gross human rights violations under the unchecked mass butchery of innocent civilians.
According to a blow-by-blow revelation of Vera Files that Bato’s VISA has actually long been cancelled as far back as during the Pacquiao-Thurman fight, where he was really very interested to watch the fight. However, his VISA was already cancelled and could no longer enter the United States.
This information was confirmed by the PNP Deputy Chief for Administration Ramon Apolinario who was also included in the same visa ban.
So what is ARIA? Or basically called The Asia Reassurance Initiative Act? The ARIA, was signed by US President Donald Trump last Dec. 31, 2018 and has been in effect during the first few months of 2019.
Its main goal? It was meant to provide the necessary fundings to help prosecute human-rights offenders as well as promoting the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region.
ARIA took note that “There have been unacceptable human rights developments” in the Philippines which has been identified by Freedom House as ‘Partly Free’ and where there are continued disturbing reports of extra-judicial killings.””
ARIA imposes sanctions on countries whose policies and practices are not consistent with international human rights standards. Sanctions range from “financial penalties and visa ban sanctions.”
This is punishing blow to many of Duterte’s allies if their US visas were now blocked and could no longer travel to the US for leisure or for official purposes. But this is just the start of everything, in fact the passage of the Global Magnitsky Law, which will soon be in effect may impose the same set of VISA nullification and even a possible freezing of US based assets and private accounts which surely send shivers down many of Duterte’s oligarch allies who relies in putting their shady US dollar funds offshore in US banks.
Duterte wants to cancel the United States VFA agreement which will surely compromise Philippine national security and will surely embolden our abusive neighbor in the region; China in taking more aggressive actions against Filipino ships in the West Philippine Sea.
During Duterte’s speech last Thursday, January 23, 2020 in Leyte. He expressed his dismay and anger against the United States for imposing a visa ban against his most trusted police general who has since been the mastermind of his drug-war which claimed thousands of innocent lives.
And in response, Duterte wants to cancel the United States ”Visiting Forces Agreement” to teach the US a lesson for allegedly meddling in PH affairs. But is that really a fair decision?
First, let’s examine what ”VFA” stands for and what it means?
To refresh your memory, the VFA is a set of three documents governing treatment of visiting US troops in the country. It exempts US military forces from Philippine visa and passport regulations, and lays down rules on jurisdiction over crimes committed by US personnel on Philippine soil.
What did we gain from this VFA agreement with the US so far? Well, VFA is central to a US military strategy to counter threats from apathetic governments in the Asia-Pacific region. Critical is the Chinese threat over the disputed Spratlys territory, to which the Philippines have also laid claim.
It is important that the Philippine government attempt to balance our diplomatic relations between both superpowers in order to ensure our sole deterrence against another.
VFA agreement with the US should enable daily rotation of experienced US military personnel within the country and in the same manner reminding China that in case they attempt to attack the Philippines they’ll also end up attacking US personnel so they need to be more careful with their approach.
VFA has also been vital in many of our counter-terrorism drive including the Marawi Siege where many US intelligence personnel helped ensured total victory against Marawi insurgents.
But, despite the benefits of the US VFA and Duterte’s seemingly irrational outburst which led him in his decision to nullify the US VFA despite clearly going beyond reason.
Even Senator Ping Lacson clarified by saying that “The US visa, on the other hand, is “conditional authorization UNILATERALLY given to a visiting foreigner, which may be granted, canceled or even denied outright, without need for explanation or justification,”
Despite the risky consequence of such rash decision of the Philippine President. Many of his allies in the Congress were still peculiarly happy and supportive of his decision in kicking out US military troops out of the Philippines shores.
Let’s say, this was what many Filipinos have ever really wanted anyways. To kick out foreigners out of our shores under sheer ultra-nationalist grounds that the Philippines must be made independent and keep distant from US control as far as what many of Duterte’s trolls and paid propagandists have all been screaming in social-media today.
And yet, what if the US dissolve the ban imposed on Bato Dela Rosa’s VISA. Should the government then resume the validity of the VFA simply because the US allowed Bato to enter their country?
That’s pure hogwash! Yes, we need to have an independent foreign policy but also needed to have friends, especially the US and China since both superpowers have massive military capabilities, trade potential and has conflicting interests in each other and that by ensuring that we are able to diplomatically balanced out their influence in the country will ensure peace and support from both countries — using each other as a deterrence in case of a sign of belligerence.
So what’s many of the Filipino’s take on this?
According to the latest mood-meter result coming from the Rappler article, where more than 56% of all the people who has accessed and read the news article were somewhat ”angry” at Duterte’s plan to cancel out US VFA.
Surely? Why should we kick the Americans who never really took and claimed a single inch of Philippine territory and yet out we foolishly bow down to our Chinese oppressors?