SEPARATING from the United States? Then junk the EDCA.
This is the challenge of Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago to President Rodrigo Duterte, following his pronouncement in Beijing about his decision to separate from the US militarily and economically.
Elago said President Duterte should “walk the talk” on his policy pronouncement.
He should, for instance, rescind the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
In a speech at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing last week, Duterte announced, “In this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States… Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also.”
However, Duterte clarified that the pronouncement does not include severing diplomatic ties.
“What the President can do as a preliminary step is to formally move for the review and eventual junking of EDCA,” Elago said.
Elago pointed out that since the Supreme Court has ruled that EDCA is an executive agreement, it is within the powers of the President to formally request its termination.
Malacañang yesterday reiterated that the Philippines is not going to break any of its established alliances as the United States’ most senior diplomat for Asia arrived in Manila.
In a press briefing in Malacañang yesterday, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella stressed that treaties with the US remain after President Rodrigo Duterte declared at a business forum in Beijing, China on Wednesday that Manila would “separate” from its military and economic alliance with Washington.
“It mainly refers now to the [military] exercises. There are 25 small more exercises but the treaties remain in place,” he said.
He said this after US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affair Daniel Russel arrived in Manila and clarified the status of the US-Philippines relationship.
Russel said that Duterte’s statement created confusion, while his war on drugs, especially the “loss of lives,” was cause for concern not just for the US but also for other countries.
He added that the spate of drug-related killings is “not a positive trend” and “bad for business.”
Abella pointed out that Russel’s concerns have been previously addressed.
“It’s not a new line. It’s something that the US and the Western alignment have referred to again and again. However, the President already made his position clear regarding that, and there are no state-sanctioned policy regarding these alleged extrajudicial killings. Even the Senate made reference with that and absolved the President in their own particular investigation of the matter,” the spokesperson stressed out.
“Again, we specify that the Philippines will not renege on its treaties that have been made with its established allies,” he added.
Nonetheless, Abella also hinted that Duterte’s foreign policy shift could mean relationship with countries that do not interfere with Philippines’ internal affairs would be given value.