October 31, 2010
Reference: Bb. Lotlot S. Dela Cruz -# 09178606650
Pangging Santos – #09156484638
Yuen Abana - # 09162811934
Remember Nicole, Terminate the VFA
We commemorate tomorrow the fifth anniversary of the rape of Nicole. As we, the members of the women-led alliance, Task Force Subic Rape, remember that heartrending day, we are greatly dismayed that the Aquino government seems to be bent on merely refining the agreement rather than on effecting its termination as expressed in the Joint Resolution No. 3 of Congress.
Nicole's case is the first rape case committed by an American soldier that prospered in court and even got a conviction since the establishment of an American military base in Subic in 1901. But the conviction of L/Cpl Daniel Smith, Nicole’s rapist, was hardly executed because not long after the handing down of his sentence, US officials engaged Philippine government officials into transferring Smith from a Philippine jail to the US Embassy and eventually exonerating him.
Nicole’s case made many people realize what campaigners for sovereignty had been warning about the VFA since the 1990’s. It is mainly for the protection of US soldiers. Some of its provisions on purpose were made ambiguous to give the US government more legroom for maneuver while preventing outright outrage from patriotic Filipinos.
While Nicole reminded the world of many other victims/survivors of military sexual violence who have yet to find justice. Nicole’s case once again made us see the stark reality of Philippine-American relations: it has never been equal, is never mutually beneficial.
Thus, we have never asked for the refinement of the VFA. However the Philippine government tries to refine it, US troops’ presence will always amount to intervention in our internal affairs, to the Philippine government’s subservience to US sovereignty and to compromising, in an unprincipled way, our national interest, the wellbeing of our people, the protection of our environment and the safety and dignity of our women.
The detriments far outweigh the benefits the Filipino people are getting from the VFA. The US soldiers’ assistance during typhoons, their medical and dental missions and their infrastructure projects are all part of their unconventional warfare. The grants and equipment our military gets are paltry. The US military machinery and US big business are gaining a lot from the Philippines in terms of information about the country’s resources and the actual excavations these soldiers have done. Overall, the US is benefiting from having positioned in this part of Southeast Asia for its continued economic and military supremacy.
We ask President Aquino, serve the Filipino people, not US interests. Terminate the VFA now!