Palace: Duterte may hold off VFA abrogation anew
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte may hold off the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the U.S. for another six months, Malacañang said Wednesday.
“That has the option of being further extended by another six months. So my thinking is, perhaps the President will invoke the second six month time to finally abrogate the VFA,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview over CNN Philippines.
“But anyway, what I am saying is, there is no immediate rush for the President to decide because the notification we sent to the Americans gives them at least one year leeway before it’s abrogated,” he added.
It was in February when the Philippines government, upon instruction of Duterte, sent a notice to the U.S. embassy to terminate the VFA. It was supposed to take effect in August.
However, the scrapping of VFA was suspended for six months in June. The six-month suspension ends this December.
In the diplomatic note sent to the U.S., Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the suspension is “extendible by the Philippines for another six months.”
The President’s order to end the pact followed reports about the U.S. visa cancellation of Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, one of Duterte’s most trusted allies and first police chief.
The VFA, which took effect in 1999, provides a mechanism for visiting American soldiers and serves as the foundation for military exercises and humanitarian work.
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