PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has put off for another six months the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced on Monday evening, June 14, 2021.
Locsin said Duterte wanted both sides to “study and address concerns regarding particular aspects of the agreement.”
"We are waiting for guidance from the Palace on the specific areas the President would like to look more closely into," the DFA said in a statement.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed full support for Duterte’s decision.
“Our bilateral cooperation with the U.S. is geared towards upholding our national interest and to the extent necessary to enhance the Philippines’ defense capability,” he said in a statement.
“With the additional six months, we will further review the pros and cons of the VFA especially regarding various concerns of mutual importance to our two countries with the end in view of helping the President arrive at an informed decision on the matter,” he added.
This was the third time that Duterte suspended the unilateral abrogation of the VFA since he issued the order in February 2020, following the revocation of the US visa of Senator Ronald dela Rosa.
The VFA allows American and Filipino soldiers to conduct joint training in the country to enhance their capabilities. (SunStar Philippines)