It has been reported that nine US Navy ships scheduled to arrive in Subic this month until December have decided to cancel their port calls due to “anti-American sentiments” in the country after a US Marine was implicated in the slaying of a Filipino transgender in Olongapo City last month.
If this is true then I don’t think the government is exerting enough effort to suppress this adverse feeling towards the visiting forces and allow economic benefits for Olongapo, in particular, and the country, in general, to be held hostage.
The Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC) said the cancellation disappointed local businessmen, who had been preparing for the “liberty” (rest and recreation) of American troops.
In reality what good would the port calls serve if none of the service personnel are allowed to disembark and enjoy their liberty?
It is not as if the murder complaint filed by the family of Jeffery “Jennifer” Laude, the transgender victim, against US Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton before the Olongapo Prosecutor’s Office has not been acted upon. In fact Pemberton is now held in a detention facility jointly managed by the American and Philippine governments at the Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City and talks about reviewing the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) are being agreed upon by the Philippine and US governments.
The Laude killing has definitely ruffled the feathers of the LGBT group and their supporters and has in fact created anew some kinks in our relationship with the US, but let us not be caught mired in this unfortunate event and forsake whatever short/long term economic benefits Olongapo or the country may derive from our long and friendly relationship with the US.
It behooves now for government to restrain the activities of those advocating against the port calls of US Navy ships and ensure the safety of the places where the servicemen are to spend their rest and recreation (R&R).
Let it be known that government is in control and believes that business interest should prevail over anti-American sentiments.
It would not be a bad idea if a warning is given to those prostituting themselves to make known their gender identity and never attempt to be what they are not before agreeing to get bedded to be safe from harms way.