By: Ellen Tordesillas
(The author is an Antiqueña journalist in Metro Manila who writes for Malaya, Abante and VERA Files)
AS PART of its hearts and minds campaign, the Philippine panel negotiating with the United States on increased access of American military in the country has come out with answers to frequently asked questions.
Both panels have agreed that the agreement they are negotiating will be titled “Increased Rotational Presence (IRP) Framework Agreement.
Their answers, however, lead to more questions because they are fond of using big words that make you wonder whether they are referring to a thing or a creature or whatever. They also give incomplete information which does not make for a truthful answer.
First question is what is IRP?
Answer: “Increased Rotational Presence is the policy which increases the presence of United States (US) forces on a rotational basis in Philippine territory towards the development of a minimum credible defense posture.
With this answer, the public is given the idea of a revolving arrangement. Something like the 300 American soldiers who would be in the Philippines in January would leave February to be replaced by another batch. That means, whatever batch they are, there will always be American soldiers in the Philippines. American presence will be a fixture then in the Philippines. Something like a permanent presence.