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Tit for tat: PH reminds US of WW2

Malacañang on Saturday reminded Washington that the Philippines has been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with America since World War II following Manila's decision to terminate the two-decades-old Visiting Forces Agreement.

Manila's “gentle reminder” came on the heels of US President Donald Trump's statement that America extended a hand to the Philippines in combating terrorism, specifically during the five-month Marawi siege in 2017. Trump said American troops "came in and literally single-handedly" saved the Philippines from ISIS and the ISIS-backed Maute group.

READ: US blasts VFA termination

“We are, of course, not oblivious of such succor and we reiterate our appreciation for that deed. We wish to remind our erstwhile bosom ally that we too fought side by side with them in fighting the Japanese Imperial forces during the Second World War,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte is thankful that Trump, who said he is “fine” with the VFA termination and that it would “save (America) a lot of money,” underscored the good relationship between both countries.

READ: Duterte to Trump: No to VFA, period

“President Duterte welcomes President Trump’s remarks and he is glad that the American President understands and respects his decision to end the Visiting Forces Agreement. In ceasing the effectivity of the VFA, he points to the legislative and executive actions of the US government, which we have previously elaborated, as his raison d’etre,” Panelo said.

The Palace official was referring to the cancellation of the US visa of Senator Ronald dela Rosa, Duterte’s first Philippine National Police chief who is known as the architect of the administration’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs, and the passage of the US government’s 2020 budget that included a provision barring the entry of Philippine officials behind the imprisonment of Senator Leila De Lima, who is on trial on drug charges.

“The Chief Executive deemed such actions to be not only an offensive and blatant disrespect to our judicial system but an outright assault to the country’s sovereignty. As a matter of principle and national pride, being the head of an aggrieved and insulted state, he had been compelled to take a bold, decisive and studied action,” Panelo said.

“The time to strengthen our defense capabilities has come. Reliance on another country to defend our motherland from whoever desires to threaten our territorial integrity as well as to assault our sovereignty will only further weaken and stagnate our already limited resources.”

READ: Rody not eyeing new military ties, instead opts for stronger defense

“As the President says in rationalizing why we have to stand alone and depend on our own resources in fighting the enemies of the state: 'If not now, when?'” Panelo added.

READ: With or without VFA, Pinoys can live—Koko

READ: VFA sparks confusion at Palace

Topics: World War II , Visiting Forces Agreement , Donald Trump , terrorism
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