Don’t use Yolanda victims’ grief to justify US presence: lawmakers


The Philippine government should not use the devastation brought by super typhoon Yolanda to justify the US’ increased rotational presence (IRP) in the country, lawmakers said on Thursday.

Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate and Kabataan Party-list Terry Ridon hit Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario’s statement on Monday as “insensitive” and an “insult” to those who perished in the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda.

“This is a grave insult to the memories of those who died, including the survivors whose unspeakable grief and loss are being used by the government as a smokescreen for the increased rotational presence of US military in the country,” Zarate said. “They should not use the misery of our people in justifying this constitutionally-infirmed military agreement.”

On Monday, del Rosario was quoted as saying that the response of the US in the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda “demonstrates the need for this framework agreement that we are working out with the United States for increased rotational presence because it accentuates the purpose, one of the purposes, the main purpose of the framework which is to make humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and response a very major aspect of the agreement.”

Zarate noted that del Rosario’s statement just proved that the recent aid provided by the US has “strings attached.”

“Our officials are acting like US lackeys always at the beck and call of their masters,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ridon said in his privilege speech on Wednesday that instead of pushing for the IRP, the government should instead create an international disaster response treaty.

“The crafting and signing of international treaty that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity while providing immediate relief is – to this humble representation’s view – a more noble cause to pursue rather than a new treaty that would allow greater foreign intervention in our great nation,” Ridon said

There must be an international legal framework for disaster response, Ridon said, for the respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are in a dilemma if how long should the US troops stay following their response to the wreckage brought by Yolanda.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone believed that the American forces should only stay until December.

The US provided an overwhelming response in the Yolanda aftermath. It  gave a total of $51.857 million humanitarian assistance, in cash and in kind, and sent its flagship carrier, USS George Washington, with a total of 6800 military and navy personnel.

The Philippines now has a key role in the rebalancing of the US in Asia and the Pacific as the emerging China is becoming a threat to the world’s superpower. JHOANNA BALLARAN


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. kung galit kayo sa mga amerikano bakit gustong gusto nyong makakuha ng us visa.gusto nyo ring mag aral sa america,magpagamot sa amerika at gamitin ang mga imported na gamit?

  2. wilmer andrada on

    Zarate and Ridon seem to be agents of the NPA and Communist China. How could be they say that the US presence in the calamity stricken areas is an insult to the victims when they are almost our first responders? These guys are ingrates. The US media showed the flight of the victims to the entire world so that we got such an overwhelming response and support…We do not have enough equipment and machinery and the USA was there to give us a helping hand but these guys want to bite the hand that feeds them. Communist China is fishing and encroaching right in our backyards, is in control of our some of our reefs and islets, defying our own sovereignty, but we are lame and defenseless against it .. Did these guys complain about China’s threats and actual takeover of our territories? I am just sick of such duplicity..We should all thank America for all the help she is giving us.

  3. China should just invade Philippines. Chinese will execute all corrupt politicians. The country is in shamble. Worst when I left in the 70’s. No hope for the country.

  4. The Philippines is a democratic country, with freedom guarantee, so these Communists legislators also are free to say something against what they disagree with. Even if they like what the majority is doing, they will still criticize, for their constituents’ consumption, and to perpetuate their power to stay put in Congress. I will also agree that the Philippines, can not defend itself from any aggressive country trying to steal our precious territories. Therefore, let the Communist opposition legislators say what they want to say, it won’t hurt anything. But let the majority rule, for the Philippines to have a mutual viable treaty with USA, if only to help us guard and protect our land and waters. May God have mercy on all.

  5. China is what Japan was many years ago. Philippines is not capable of defending against a Chinese invasion.

  6. Makoy from Australia on

    They should stay as long as China’s encroaching in our territory continue as imminent threat….. or May be If I can suggest that these Honorable lawmen be sent to Spratly on as delegates to welcome Big brother China in their quest to annex the whole of Palawan as Spratly will not be enough for China.

  7. “The Philippines now has a key role in the rebalancing of the US in Asia”

    Really? What exactly is that “key role”?
    Why do writers like this persist in such brain-dead statements?

    “The emerging China is becoming a threat to the world’s superpower.”

    LOL! What rock has this writer been hiding under? China has been a superpower for at least the last five years! Stop repeating mindless cliches you don’t even bother fact-checking!

  8. Rosauro Feliciano on

    Let the local Communists say what they want. The truth is they prefer Godless China than the USA because they are atheists.