MLSA AGREEMENT MAKES AFP IN CHARGE OF FOREIGN POLICY
The recently -signed MLSA agreement which has long been kept secret from the public clearly puts the Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP) in charge of Philippine foreign policy. Among other things, it disregards the Philippine Constitutional provisions regarding foreign military presence which can only be allowed with the concurrence of the Philippine Senate.
The designation of a low-ranking American colonel and a Philippine commodore as the only signatories to an agreement with foreign policy implications clearly shows the trickery with which this agreement was crafted. Now, middle level officers of our armed forces may be designated to sign documents on significant defense and foreign policy implications. Worse, the MLSA immediately purports to be a mere “administrative” or “accounting” agreement between the United States armed forces and the Philippine armed forces, when in fact, it will overturn the 1991 Senate Resolution of Non-concurrence that terminated U.S. military presence on Philippine soil. It even ignores the constitutional provision that specifies that such kinds of agreements on U.S. military presence, i.e. foreign troops, facilities and bases, require concurrence by two thirds of the Philippine Senate.
If militarists like retired army officers think that they can get away with this kind of deception and “slight trick” foisted on the Filipino people, they are wrong.
Filipinos do not want to be dragged into U.S. interventionary wars both within the Philippines and outside in what the agreement calls “cooperative efforts”, such as the imminent U.S. war with Iraq. Nor do we want to be logistical and staging areas for U.S. military missions against other countries. These are the commitments made by the Philippines to the United States in the MLSA.
The fact that U.S. logistics and supplies are to be stockpiled in the Philippines under the agreement inevitably means that the U.S. armed forces will set up on Philippine soil some form of storage or stockpile facilities for these, including replenishment, re-fuelling and re-supply facilities. These would immediately violate the Philippine constitution that requires that “foreign military facilities” too in addition to “foreign military troops and bases” require a treaty ratified by the Philippine Senate. Otherwise, these would be illegal and unconstitutional.
The 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement(VFA) has , in recent years, already been reinvented to include all kinds of U.S. military activities on Philippine soil, including U.S. troops accompanying Filipino troops in combat zones and conflict areas. You can now imagine what the military which has now arrogated upon itself our foreign and defense policy without our Senate’s constitutional oversight , will now do with a document like the Mutual Logistics and Support Agreement(MLSA).
We the convenors and members of the Gathering for Peace, a coalition of 51 organizations, political blocks, coalitions, NGO’s and sectoral organizations hereby condemn the recently concluded signing of the RP-US Mutual Logistics and Support Agreement (MLSA).
Former Senator Wigberto E. Tanada
Nini Quezon Avancena
Prof. Roland Simbulan
Maria Socorro Diokno
Ref. Wigberto E. Tanada/Chit Asis
Nov. 23, 2002
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2002