Councilor says VFA a big help to Philippines

COUNCILOR Josephine Pareja has expressed regrets that President Rodrigo Duterte decided to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States of America (USA).

Pareja said Zamboanga City has constantly benefited from USA through the United State Agency for International Development (USAid) and Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (Surge) programs.

Pareja, City Council's chairperson of the Committee on Peace and Order, said the US has also helped the Philippines in the fight against terrorism by providing funds as reward money, through the Rewards for Justice Program.

The program is the counter terrorism rewards program of the US Department of state's Diplomatic Security Service.

Pareja said the US troops have provided trainings, as well as military equipment and gadgets to the Philippine military and police forces.

She said she is worried that all these assistance will go to naught just because of a visa of Senator Ronald Dela Rosa that was rejected by the US.

Besides, she said, more than 200 workers in Zamboanga City under the VFA will lose their jobs once the agreement will be finally scrapped.

Pareja said these Zamboangueño employees receive very good compensation from the Americans.

"I hope the workers will receive good compensation from them once the VFA will finally be nullified by the President," Pareja said.

She hopes that both countries would be able to resolve their differences within the 180-day period.

"I hope the two countries will come to terms and try to find a win-win solution," Pareja said. (SunStar Zamboanga)


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