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The Senate yesterday ratified the Status of Visiting Forces with Australia by adopting Senate Resolution 788 which concurs with President Benigno Aquino III’s ratification of the agreement.
Yesterday’s ratification, reported by GMA News, had the Senate voting 17-1 with Senator Joker Arroyo registering the lone dissenting voice.
The GMA News reported that Senator Arroyo argued:’Are we trying to say that other than the US, we also have other allies like Australia? ASEAN, our regional friends and geographically close to us, hesitate to lend us their token support. [So] why should we enlist Australia, which is so far away and an out and out ally of the US to be our ally too?’
Obververs said that the ratification ‘would improve regional security, and not just enhance Philippine defense at a time of growing tension with China.’
The Philippines-Australia agreement was the centre of discussion in the Filipino Australian community over the last four weeks, particularly in relation to the Scarborough Shoal stand-off.
Community leaders campaigned in the community for its ratification including a blog by GFA chair Lolita Farmer, and a community awareness program through online publications and social media circles by Australian Military Police Reserve major Tom Baena and TFA publisher Romy Cayabyab.