Duterte should ask China to pay for damages in WPS: Ex-DFA chief

Instead of forcing the United States to pay the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the former secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that President Rodrigo Duterte should charge China for the damage it has done to the West Philippine Sea which reached P230 billion.

Former DFA Sec Albert Del Rosario called Duterte’s statement “unfortunate” to charge the US with the VFA aimed at helping to defend Philippine territory.

“The President’s position that the US should pay for the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to continue—is a sentiment that is not shared by our patriotic soldiers and our countrymen who want to defend our West Philippine Sea against China,” said the former secretary of the DFA from 2011 to 2016.

Del Rosario was among those who filed lawsuits against China and won the arbitral tribunal in 2016 for seizing Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea and building artificial islands.

“Instead, it is a sentiment shared by the Chinese Communist Party, which does not want other countries helping the Philippines defend its waters,” he added.

Duterte should ask China to pay for damages in WPS: Ex-DFA chief

According to the former secretary, The VFA is part of the implementation of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty signed by the US and the Philippines as an ally following World War II.

Under the VFA, Filipino and American soldiers are allowed to train in the Philippines.

“It is incomprehensible that when partners help each other against a common enemy, one is asking his partner to pay. This is the gist of the President’s unfortunate position on the VFA,” said Del Rosario.

“On the other hand, China owes more than P230 Billion in damages for undertaking the most devastating marine destruction in the West Philippine Sea, which will eventually cause a food crisis among in the near future. In this case, when will President Duterte demand China to pay?,” he asked.

Last week, Duterte said, “I would like to put on notice, if there’s an American agent here, that from now on, you want the Visiting Forces Agreement done? You have to pay.”