Duterte to uphold PH’s interests with decision to keep VFA — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte decided to keep the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States to uphold the Philippines’ interests while clearly defining the ties between the two nations as “between sovereign equals,” Malacañang said Friday.
“PRRD’s decision to recall the abrogation of VFA is based on upholding PH strategic core interests, the clear definition of PH-US alliance as one between sovereign equals, and clarity of US position on its obligations and commitments under MDT [Mutual Defense Treaty],” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
“PH will, however, continue to engage other countries for partnerships that work, based on our core national interests,” he added.
Duterte recalled the abrogation of the VFA After meeting with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
It was in February 2020 when Duterte threatened the agreement’s abrogation should the U.S. fail to “correct” the U.S. visa cancellation of his ally, former police chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.
The abrogation of the VFA was suspended three times.
Austin paid a courtesy call on Duterte upon arrival in the country. During their meeting, the two officials agreed to strengthen the alliance in areas of pandemic response, combating transnational crimes, including the war on illegal drugs, maritime domain awareness, the rule of law, and trade and investments.
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