Philippines officially terminates VFA with US
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has officially sent the notice to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement to the United States.
Malacañang on Tuesday confirmed that the notice has been signed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin, Jr. and sent to the US government on the same day.
“The President directed Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to tell Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin of the Foreign Affairs to send the notice of termination to the US government last night. And the Executive Secretary sent the message to Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin, and the latter signed the notice of termination and then sent it to the US government today,” Presidential spokesman Panelo told a press briefing.
According to Panelo, the termination will take effect after 180 days from now.
Locsin in a tweet said the Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy has received the notice of termination.
@DFAPHL The Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the United States has received the notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement. As a diplomatic courtesy there will be no further factual announcements following this self-explanatory development. https://t.co/qQhywEpcea
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) February 11, 2020
“As a diplomatic courtesy there will be no further factual announcements following this self-explanatory development,” the country’s top diplomat said.
Since taking power in 2016, Duterte has repeatedly alluded to severing ties with the US while pursuing closer relations with the country’s non-traditional allies Russia and China.
The firebrand leader has publicly expressed dismay over the US government over some of its officials’ remarks against his bloody war on drugs.
The current discord was set in motion when the US Senate passed a resolution seeking sanctions against Philippine officials involved in the drug war and the detention of Senator Leila De Lima, a staunch Duterte administration critic who has been detained for drug-related charges.
Duterte has ordered the termination of the military pact after the US canceled the visa of his longtime confidant Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, who also led his bloody war on drugs.
The VFA, signed in 1998, accorded legal status to US troops who were rotated in the country for military exercises and humanitarian assistance operations.
Dela Rosa, who was Duterte’s chief of police from 2016 to 2018, said the US Embassy did not explain why his visa was voided but he acknowledged it has something to do with alleged extrajudicial killings under his watch.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.