Malacañang wants ‘impact assessment’ of VFA termination
MANILA, Philippines — As part of the steps towards the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that Malacañang has ordered to conduct a “preliminary impact assessment” on its possible effects.
“We have just been instructed today to expand the scope of our study to include a preliminary impact assessment on the possible termination of the VFA,” Guevarra told reporters on Monday, the day he was supposed to submit a memorandum to President Rodrigo Duterte.
With the inclusion of the possible impact of VFA termination, Guevarra said this means also looking into the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, a supplement of the VFA as well as the Mutual Defense Treaty.
“I will ask to convene the cabinet cluster on justice and security and/or the VFA commission for an in-depth and comprehensive impact assessment,” Guevarra told reporters.
Aside from the Department of Justice, other members of the cluster are the Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Foreign Affairs, National Bureau of Investigation, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the Office of the Executive Secretary.
Last week, Duterte said the VFA will be scrapped if the US will not rectify the cancelation of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s visa.
Guevarra said the President may have threatened the VFA cancellation but he has not given an order to actually terminate it.
“That is why his office has requested us to study the potential impact of such termination,” Guevarra said.
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