Duterte extends suspension of VFA termination anew
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has extended the suspension of the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States for another six months, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced on Monday.
“The president conveyed to us his decision to extend the suspension of the abrogation of the VFA by another six months while he studies and both sides further address his concerns regarding particular aspects of the agreement,” Locsin said in a video message posted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The foreign affairs chief made the announcement after emerging from a meeting with Duterte and Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Romualdez.
Officials from the Philippines and the US began discussions to iron out the two countries’ differences over the VFA last February. Romualdez earlier expressed hopes that the President will back the continuation of the defense pact.
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.
Duterte pulled out from the VFA in February last year. The process of the VFA termination, however, has been held off twice, first in June 2020 and a second time in November 2020.
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