Scrapping VFA may affect half of 318 military activities–AFP chief
MANILA, Philippines — Almost half of the 318 military activities will be affected if the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States is terminated.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. said this during his confirmation hearing at the Commission on Appointments’ committee on national defense on Wednesday.
For 2020, Santos said a total of 318 VFA-related activities are scheduled to be held in the country and 10 of which are major exercises.
But since the Philippines already sent a notice of termination to the US on Tuesday, some of these activities will not be implemented anymore when the abrogation takes effect after 180 days, the AFP chief said.
“Those [activities that are already] ongoing will push through unless the other side canceled it,” Santos told the committee.
But he pointed out that the Philippines is not the only one benefiting from the military exercises.
“It’s also the US soldiers who are gaining skills from us considering that we are one of the most experienced foot soldiers with our experience in Marawi, in counter insurgency and other internal problems,” Santos added.
Senator Joel Villanueva pursued the issue and asked how many of these scheduled activities in the country this year would be affected.
Responding to Villanueva’s query, the AFP chief said: “Almost half of the activities.”
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the termination of the VFA after the US canceled the visa of his former top cop and now Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.
Edited by JPV
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