Philippines again suspends VFA termination with US

The Philippines said that it was again suspending the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US for another six months.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin announced in a video message on Monday the decision made by President Rodrigo Duterte, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The President conveyed to us his decision to extend the suspension of the abrogation of the VFA by another six months while he studies and both sides further address his concerns regarding particular aspects of the agreement,” Locsin said.

This is the third time that the Philippines suspended the termination order.

The second suspension was supposed to expire in August this year.

Duterte threatened to terminate the VFA in January 2020 after the US cancelled the entry visa of his long-time aide Senator Ronald dela Rosa, over the latter’s role in the war on drugs during his tenure as the Philippine National Police chief.

The notice of termination paved the way for both sides to “review the provisions” in the pact deemed “problematic” to the Philippines.

“The pact was not renegotiated but clarified in detail some VFA provisions that are problematic to the Philippines so both sides can implement it more effectively in the future,” a diplomatic source told Xinhua earlier.

Manila and Washington signed the VFA in 1998 that governs the conduct of US military personnel who come to the Philippines to participate in approved training and other activities.

The Philippine Senate ratified the agreement in 1999, seven years after the closure of the last US base on the Philippine territory.

https://www.thestatesman.com/world/philippines-suspends-vfa-termination-us-1502972816.html

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