Ten Years of the Visiting Forces Agreement: An Assessment

Jun. 08, 2009

By the Policy Study, Publication, and Advocacy (PSPA)
Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG)

May 29, 2009

The presence of heavily armed U.S. soldiers even in the remote areas of the Philippine countryside is now becoming a normal part of the local scenery. As we mark the ten years (1999-2009) of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA, ratified by the Philippine Senate on May 27, 1999), it has made our countryside a free-fire zone for so-called joint military exercises using live ammunition and artillery that have killed, injured or maimed our people including children. These foreign troops enter Philippine territory without passports or visas, without clearances from our customs or immigration authorities, without quarantine clearances from our health authorities, and with neither licenses nor registration for driving their vehicles in our country. They have gotten away with murder, attempted murder, rape, harassment of our women, maltreatment of our countrymen, and destruction of our environment. A document called the Visiting Forces Agreement has given them the right to do so. Read On.

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