As President Duterte mulls over whether to terminate the grossly unfavorable Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the United States, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin is baring news on how the United States failed to provide any protection for the Philippines over the matter of Scarborough shoal.
In a twitter debate with a Gregory Poling, an American who is director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, over the impact on Philippine national security should President Duterte terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement, Secretary Locsin cited how the Obama administration’s lack of action was instrumental in the Philippines’ loss of control over Scarborough or Panatag Shoal to China.
According to Locsin, the Philippines withdrew from Panatag Shoal in 2012 hoping to end the weeks-long standoff between us and China, upon the intervention of US President Barack Obama.
However, China failed to withdraw their ships, instead stationing their own ships in the shoal’s fishing grounds.
According to Locsin, the US did nothing to defend this violation of the Philippine nation’s territory.
Locsin tweeted: “Obama said, ‘Oh well such is life.’ And it’s never left. Thanks America. Everybody acknowledges the US cost us that reef.”
The United States also has a Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines, which many people would cite as evidence of the big brother-little brother relationship between our countries. However, like the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Mutual Defense Treaty is also incredibly disadvantageous to the Philippines. While both documents provide great boons to the US, they do practically nothing for the Philippines but provide liabilities. In 2018, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana ordered a review of the MDT to see whether we should maintain it or scrap it altogether.