PH won’t renegotiate VFA with US
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has shut the door on renegotiating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States which is set to expire this year.
According to Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., the Philippines will see through the official termination of the 21-year long military agreement in August.
He, however, said the Philippines would continue its military alliance with the US through other forms of “cooperation.”
“We are never going back to the visiting forces agreement but there are other enduring—predictable not just ad hoc—ways of cooperation to give muscle memory to the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT),” Locsin tweeted on Tuesday.
Without the MDT, he said, the Philippines would be an “Oriental slave state.”
“Arming us to hold up our end of MDT is one,” form of cooperation, he added.
On orders of Malacañang, Locsin sent the formal notice of termination to the US Embassy on Feb. 11, from which began the 180-day countdown to the official end of the VFA.
The VFA was ratified in 1999, eight years after the Philippines closed all US military bases in 1991, to once more allow large-scale US military presence in the country.
President Duterte ordered the termination of the VFA after his former national police chief now Sen. Ronald dela Rosa said the US had canceled his visa.
Six senators led by Senate President Vicente Sotto III have a pending petition asking the Supreme Court to order Malacañang to get the Senate’s consent first before unilaterally withdrawing from the agreement.
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