‘We will live without VFA’ – PH armed forces chief
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will live without the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States.
Newly-installed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff, General Felimon Santos Jr., declared this shortly after the Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed his appointment on Wednesday.
Santos said the AFP supports President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to scrap VFA.
“It’s a political decision. We’ll support him,” the AFP chief said in an interview at the Senate after his confirmation.
“And we will live without VFA,” Santos added, noting how the Philippines managed to survive when the two nations terminated the bases agreement from 1991 to 1997.
During that time, he said, the Philippines did not receive anything from the US.
“Wala namang nangyari sa atin (Nothing happened to us),” Santos said.
Between the VFA and the bases agreement though, he said, he would prefer to have the visiting forces pact with the US.
The choice between the two was raised by Senator Joel Villanueva during the AFP chief’s confirmation hearing at the CA’s committee on national defense.
“Between the two – bases agreement and VFA – maybe we’ll go with the visiting forces,” Santos said.
But Villanueva said, “There’s also another choice, forego both. What’s your choice if you have three options?”
Santos said he would abide by the President’s choice.
Edited by KGA
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