Duterte extends suspension of VFA termination ‘by yet another six months’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has extended the suspension of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) cancellation by another six months, his top diplomat said Wednesday.
In a statement via Twitter, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said: “My President, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, has instructed me to convey with the appropriate formality his decision to extend the suspension of the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement by yet another six months, to enable us to find a more enhanced, mutually beneficial, mutually agreeable, and more effective and lasting arrangement on how to move forward in our mutual defense.”
— DFA Philippines (@DFAPHL) November 11, 2020FEATURED STORIESGLOBALNATION
“Long Live Philippine US friendship and alliance. I hereby send the Diplomatic Note in that respect,” he also said.
On January 23, Duterte gave the US government 30 days to rectify the cancellation of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s visa or he would discontinue the two-decade-old military accord. Dela Rosa is a long-time staunch ally of Duterte.
The Philippines officially pulled out from the defense deal on February 11.
But on June 1, Locsin, upon the order of the President, suspended the revocation of the VFA for six months due to the coronavirus pandemic and “heightened superpower tensions.”
That suspension order by Duterte was “extendible by the Philippines for another six months.”
“The past four years have changed the South China Sea from one of uncertainty about great powers’ intentions to one of predictability and resulting stability with regard to what can and cannot be done, what will and will not be acceptable with regard to the conduct of any protagonist in the South China Sea. Clarity and strength have never posed a risk. It is confusion and indecision that aggravate risk,” Locsin continued.
“A great deal of credit for the renewal of stability and security goes to deft diplomacy, unequivocal expressions of policy, sturdy postures of strength combined with unfailing tact, and pragmatic national security advice exhibited by both our governments in the same period,” he added.
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