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Philippine official defends US pact after Duterte threat

ArnoldZArnoldZ Member PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐

Philippine official defends US pact after Duterte threat

Associated PressFebruary 6, 2020
Philippines Security Pact
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Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. gestures during a senate hearing in Manila, Philippines on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. The Philippine foreign secretary warned Thursday that abrogating a security accord with Washington would undermine his country's security and foster aggression in the disputed South China Sea. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine foreign secretary warned Thursday that abrogating a security accord with Washington would undermine his country’s security and foster aggression in the disputed South China Sea.

The warning came after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened last month to give notice to the U.S. to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement, which allows American forces to train in the Philippines, if the reported cancellation of the visa of his political ally, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, was not corrected within a month.

“I’m warning you ... if you won’t do the correction on this, I will terminate the ... Visiting Forces Agreement. I’ll end that son of a *****,” the brash-speaking Duterte said in a Jan. 23 speech.

Dela Rosa served as Duterte's first national police chief and enforcer of the president's deadly anti-drugs crackdown in 2016. Thousands of mostly poor suspects have been killed under the campaign, alarming the U.S. and other Western governments and human rights watchdogs.

Dela Rosa and later Duterte have said Dela Rosa's visa was canceled, but U.S. officials have not addressed the matter.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. used a televised Senate hearing to enumerate what he described as crucial security, trade and economic benefits the accord provides. The U.S. is a longtime treaty ally, a major trading partner and the largest development aid provider to the Philippines.

“While the Philippines has the prerogative to terminate the VFA anytime, the continuance of the agreement is deemed to be more beneficial to the Philippines compared to any predicates were it to be terminated,” Locsin said.

The accord, known by its acronym VFA, took effect in 1999 to provide legal cover for the entry of American forces to the Philippines for joint training with Filipino troops.

A separate defense pact subsequently signed by the allies in 2014, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, allowed the extended stay of U.S. forces and authorized them to build and maintain barracks and warehouses and store defense equipment and weapons inside five designated Philippine military camps.

Terminating the VFA would affect more than 300 joint trainings and other activities this year with U.S. forces “which the Philippine military and law enforcement agencies need to enhance their capabilities in countering threats to national security,” Locsin said.

The U.S. provided more than $550 million in security assistance to the Philippines from 2016 to 2019, Locsin said, adding that there may be a “chilling effect on our economic relations" if the Philippines draws down its security alliance with Washington.

American forces have provided intelligence, training and aid that allowed the Philippines to deal with human trafficking, cyberattacks, illegal narcotics and terrorism, Locsin said, citing how U.S. military assistance helped Filipino forces quell a disastrous siege by Islamic State group-aligned militants in southern Marawi city in 2017.

U.S. military presence has also served as a deterrent to aggressive actions in the disputed South China Sea, Locsin said.

China, the Philippines, Vietnam and three other governments have rival claims to the strategic waterway.f

Duterte first threatened to abrogate the VFA in late 2016 after a U.S. aid agency put on hold funds for anti-poverty projects in the Philippines. The 74-year-old leader, who has been harshly critical of U.S. policies while often praising China and Russia, has walked back on his public threats before.

Aside from threatening to take down the VFA, Duterte has said would ban some U.S. senators from entering the Philippines. He apparently was referring to American senators who sought to ban unspecified Philippine officials from entering the U.S. for their role in the continued detention of Phillippines opposition Sen. Leila de Lima, a vocal critic of Duterte’s deadly campaign against illegal drugs.

Duterte has publicly accused de Lima of receiving money from drug traffickers and called for her detention. De Lima has dismissed the allegations as fabricated charges designed to muzzle dissent under Duterte.

Duterte has also barred his Cabinet officials from traveling to the U.S. and turned down an invitation by President Donald Trump to join a special meeting the U.S. leader will host for leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in March in Las Vegas, according to presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo.

Would he turn down an invitation by Do to join him in China? 


  • coz I always thought that Digong prefers diplomacy rather than "attacking." then why is he not using diplomacy?

    so what would happen if the reason for Bato's visa cancellation has nothing to do with politics? babawiin ba ni Digong ang pagmumura niya?
  • hsusonhsuson Member PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    coz I always thought that Digong prefers diplomacy rather than "attacking." then why is he not using diplomacy?

    so what would happen if the reason for Bato's visa cancellation has nothing to do with politics? babawiin ba ni Digong ang pagmumura niya?
    At this point, may sakit na si Dee Gong Xi.

    Most of the time naka-Fentanyl na sya.  So take his words with a grain of salt.

  • ArnoldZArnoldZ Member PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    Please, don't expect a mindset like Digong to back out of his words. Time and time again he shoots out of his mouth words that rational and educated decent human being would not even utter.
    The problem is the Pilipino electorate.
  • hellraiser2.hellraiser2. Registered User PEx Rookie ⭐

    Hinay hinay muna! Locsin bats for ‘vigorous review’ of VFA, warns termination will hurt PH

    Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr. pushed Thursday (February 6) for a “vigorous review” of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States in the face of President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to scrap it.

    Locsin changed his stance on the VFA when he faced senators during the Senate foreign relations committee’s hearing on the accord.

    The Foreign Affairs Secretary earlier lauded Duterte’s threat the scrap the VFA as a “good move” to see if the US values its alliance with the Philippines.

    At the Senate, Locsin said national interest should be an important consideration in deciding whether or not the VFA should be terminated.

    “Terminating the VFA will negatively impact the Philippines’ defense and security arrangements as well as the overall bilateral relations of the Philippines with the US and perhaps even on the suregional and multilateral level,” he said.

    Locsin explained that the VFA is crucial in the implementation of the Philippines’ other defense agreements with the US, such as the Enhanced Defense Corporation Agreement (EDCA) and the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

    “For the MDT, VFA is a substance that makes it real and makes it work. The EDCA, on the other hand, is hinged on the VFA. There is essentially no practical use for an EDCA in the absence of the VFA which is the legal framework for the presence of US military personnel in military exercises and actual military responses under the MDT,” he said.

    Asked by Senator Francis Tolentino whether the Department of Foreign Affairs is in favor of ending the VFA or just reviewing it, Locsin said: “The DFA, at this point, (has) no preference to any of these options. But at this point, I think that a review, a vigorous review of the Visiting Forces Agreement is called for.”

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  • hellraiser2.hellraiser2. Registered User PEx Rookie ⭐

    Trump ‘fine’ with VFA termination                          

    ‘Thanks, we’ll save a lot of money’

    MANILA, Philippines — United States President Donald Trump said he does not mind the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and even thanked the Philippines for helping his country “save a lot of money.”

    Trump’s response to the Duterte administration’s scrapping the VFA was in contrast to the reaction of US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said on Wednesday the termination of the agreement was “unfortunate” and a “move in the wrong direction.”

    “I never minded that very much, to be honest,” Trump said in an interview yesterday at the White House, referring to the termination of the VFA.

    “If they would like to do that, that’s fine. We’ll save a lot of money. You know, my views are different than other people. I view it as, ‘Thank you very much.  We save a lot of money,‘ ” Trump said.

    He noted that US forces “came in literally and single-handedly” helped the Philippine military end the five-month Marawi siege in 2017. US forces provided the Philippines with technical assistance to end the months-long siege by militants allied with the Middle East-based Islamic State (IS).

    “But if you look back – if you go back three years ago, when ISIS was overrunning the Philippines, we came in and, literally, single-handedly were able to save them from vicious attacks on their islands,” he added.

    “We helped the Philippines very much. We helped them defeat ISIS,” Trump said.

    Despite President Duterte’s trashing the VFA, Trump stressed he has a good relationship with the Philippine leader.

    “My relationship, as you know, is a very good one with their leader. And we’ll see what happens. They’ll have to tell me that,” Trump said.

    On Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. sent to the US embassy the notice of termination of the VFA, which is considered an enabler of the 1951 Phl-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT). In his Tweet, Locsin said Deputy Chief of Mission John Law at the US embassy received the notification on the same day.

    The sending of the notice marked the start of the 180-day period to scrap the military agreement that came into force on May 27, 1999, upon ratification by the Philippine Senate.

    Sought for comment on Trump’s statement, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said he was not even sure if the US president was serious. “By terminating it (VFA), we showed them that we do not need them. Now the statements of Mr. Trump, we do not know exactly whether he was very serious,” Panelo said.

    “You must remember that the VFA and other treaties are there precisely because of the global strategic defensive positioning of the United States. You must remember that the perceived enemies of the US are very near this country, hence they need us. It’s to their advantage if we are with them,” the presidential spokesman said.

    Earlier yesterday, Panelo said the Palace respects Trump’s declaration that he is thankful the VFA’s scrapping would save his country a lot of money.


    “Then, he is welcome. If he said that, how can we be more popish than the pope? Maybe he agrees with the position of the President that it is time that we stand on our own resources and defend our country from enemies of the state by ourselves and not rely on the help of other countries. We weaken ourselves if we keep on being parasites to any of the countries,” he said.

    Panelo said the US leader’s response was understandable because the US is at the receiving end of Duterte’s action. “Well, we can understand. Again, as I said, when you do something that is unsatisfactory to the other side,it’s natural for them to say something. We respect that the way they should respect ours,” he said.

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  • _knorr__knorr_ 2017 Person of the Year PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    edited February 14

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