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PH ends VFA

VFA Visiting Forces Agreement

THE Philippines has notified the US of the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. yesterday signed the notice of termination of the VFA with the United States, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

“On the order of the President through Executive Secretary Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Locsin signed today the notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement, which will be delivered to the US Embassy in Manila forthwith,” DFA Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Brigido Dulay said on his official Twitter account.

Locsin, in a separate tweet, said US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission John Law has received the notice.

“The Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the United States has received the notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement. As a diplomatic courtesy there will be no further factual announcements following this self-explanatory development,” he said.

US Department of State Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs Clarke Cooper on Monday said the VFA would be part of the discussions during the Philippines-US Bilateral Strategic Dialogue in March.

The VFA was ratified by the Philippine Senate in 1999. It is deemed terminated upon a party’s written notice of its intention to end the agreement.

On February 7, 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the termination of the VFA in retaliation for the US cancellation of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s visa. Dela Rosa, a former Philippine National Police chief, was responsible for implementing the administration’s anti-drug campaign.

Last year, US President Donald Trump signed the 2020 US budget that includes a provision  authorizing the Secretary of State to prevent the entry of any Philippine officials allegedly involved in the “wrongful detention” of Sen. Leila de Lima and extrajudicial killings in relation to the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.