The US embassy in Manila on Tuesday confirmed receiving the Philippines’s notice terminating the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and warned of “significant implications.”
“The Department of Foreign Affairs informed us of the Philippines’ intent to terminate the VFA,” the embassy said in a brief statement.
“This is a serious step with significant implications for the U.S.-Philippines alliance. We will carefully consider how best to move forward to advance our shared interests,” it said.
“Our two countries enjoy a warm relationship, deeply rooted in history. We remain committed to the friendship between our two peoples,” it added.
Manila’s termination notice, formally relayed to Washington on Tuesday, came after a key Duterte ally, Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, the former national police chief who led the bloody war on drugs, revealed that his US visa had been revoked.
Malacañan Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said the instruction to terminate was relayed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. Monday night.
Under treaty rules, the VFA would be terminated 180 days after receipt of the termination notice by the United States, he said.
Panelo issued a statement further explaining the treaty’s abrogation and shutting the door on further talks with the US on the VFA, after holding a news conference on Tuesday.
“Aside from the inequities brought about by the provisions found in the VFA, the decision of the President to cause the termination of the said agreement is a consequence of a series of legislative and executive actions by the US government that bordered on assaulting our sovereignty and disrespecting our judicial system. In addition, the President believes that our country can not forever rely on other countries for the defense of the state and should instead strengthen our own resources for our defenses,” he said.
“The President will not entertain any initiative coming from the US government to salvage the VFA, neither will he accept any official invitation to visit the United States,” he added. (