Lacson says MDT now reduced to a mere paper treaty after VFA scrapping
MANILA, Philippines — With the scrapping of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Senator Panfilo Lacson said the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the Philippines and the United States “will now be reduced to a mere paper treaty.”
“Like it or not, bad or good, nothing much can be done now but do a 180-day countdown upon receipt of the notice by Washington,” Lacson, chair of the Senate defense committee, said.
“What is certain is that the 1951 PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty will now be reduced to a mere paper treaty as far as the U.S. is concerned,” he added.
The VFA allows the two countries to accomplish its obligations under the MDT, which mandates the two allies to support each other in case of an armed attack.
Lacson issued the statement after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. signed and delivered the VFA termination notice to the United States.
The termination will take effect 180 days after receipt by the US government.
During a Senate inquiry into the VFA last week, the country’s top diplomat said the country’s withdrawal from the agreement would “negatively impact” the overall relations of the Philippines and the United States.
Locsin had cited the benefits of the VFA to the Philippines as well as the risks, particularly on the country’s military and security arrangements, should the said military pact be abrogated.
“Having said that, there’s no more intelligence information sharing in our fight against domestic and foreign terrorist acts, no more U.S. military aid and financing that accounts for a good 52% of what they extend to the whole Asia-Pacific region,” Lacson went on.
“That may not include other intangible economic benefits and security from external threats in the West Philippine Sea, as well as humanitarian aid in times of disasters, epidemics and other crises,” he added.
Lacson was one of the three senators who earlier filed a resolution asking the President to reconsider his plan to terminate the VFA while the Senate reviews it.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to terminate the VFA was triggered by the visa cancelation of his political ally former top cop and now Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.
The VFA, which was ratified by the Senate in 1999, governs the conduct of U.S. troops while taking part in military exercises in the Philippines.
Edited by MUF
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