With VFA Termination, Why Hold Balikatan in May?

U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, currently attached to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, conduct morning accountability before dawn on April 5, 2019 during Exercise Balikatan at the Navy Education Training Command, Philippines./ U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Christian Ayers | Photo from inquirer.net

What is the purpose of holding the Balikatan war games in May when there will be no VFA in the future? The whole idea of interoperability of troops will be rendered useless as there will be no US troops in the Philippines in the near future. Without the VFA , there is no basis for US troops to be here.

Given these developments, the upcoming Balikatan war games would therefore be a waste of resources and man-hours. It will be unnecessary.

As a matter of principle, with the Philippines terminating the VFA, it should now discontinue any further military exercises with the US. Even if the VFA termination has yet to take effect given the 180-day transition period, the Philippine government should be unequivocal in its stand against US military presence in our country.

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US military exercises in the Philippines have been used for US power-projection and prolonged military presence and direct military intervention. From the time of Balikatan 02-1, these exercises were used for US intervention in domestic affairs. Abuses have been recorded when US troops hold war games in our country.

These should now stop with the termination of the VFA. #