MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is urging the House panel of the congressional oversight committee on the Philippine-United States Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to convene and have a discussion on the possible options for the country regarding the pact.
Under House Resolution No. 1606, Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon, who also serves as the vice chairperson of the House committee on national defense and security, highlighted the “renewed vigor in relations” between the Philippines and the United States especially with the recent election of US President Joe Biden.
“The volatile situation in the West Philippine Sea and the continuing need of the country to modernize its armed forces and improve its capability to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief compels it to seek and maintain alliances with other countries to attain these objectives,” Biazon said in the resolution.
“In light of these and the renewed vigor in relations between the Philippines and the United States under the Biden administration, now may be the opportune time for policymakers to discuss possible options for the country regarding the VFA,” he added.
It was in February 2020 when the Philippine government – upon the instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte – sent to the US a notice to terminate VFA. The termination was supposed to take effect in August 2020. However, the scrapping of the VFA was shelved for six months in June last year.
The termination was once again suspended in November 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Duterte has asked for the public’s opinion as well as the views of the military on the country’s VFA with the US.