Monday, June 28, 2010

Foreign Affairs Chief Reappointment Means Unequal Ties Are Here To Stay - KMU

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Simeon Aquino III's reappointment of Alberto Romulo to the Department of Foreign Affairs sends a dangerous signal that the incoming administration wants to retain the highly unequal foreign relations that the Arroyo administration nurtured in the past years, the labor group called Kilusang Mayo Uno said.

"DFA Secretary Romulo has actively defended a number of highly controversial agreements including the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement or JPEPA. Retaining him sends an unequivocal sign that unequal foreign relations are here to stay beyond June 30, 2010," KMU chairperson Elmer Labog said in a statement.

For years, the VFA has allowed the free entry of US troops in the country and has spawned human rights violations, displacement of many people from their homes and livelihoods, and abuse of Filipino women, including Subic rape victim Nicole.

Since VFA's implementation in year 2000, 1,600 to 6,000 US soldiers were 'coming and going' to the Philippines yearly, not considering all the clandestine operations they have withheld from the public.

JPEPA, meanwhile, has licensed the dumping of toxic wastes from Japan and the unfettered entry of huge Japanese fishing vessels in Philippine waters.

Both treaties have licensed foreign exploitation of our resources, markets, and manpower.

KMU added that Aquino's decision to recycle Romulo hints that the US sees the DFA secretary as a reliable ally in securing its interests in the country.

"His reappoinment to the DFA could mean that he received a thumbs-up mark from the US government and governments of other imperialist countries for his good record of defending one-sided agreements under Arroyo," the labor leader said.

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