Halt of VFA abrogation to give PH more time to study pact – DND

The Philippines will get six more months to review the advantages and disadvantages of having a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday night. 

Lorenzana made the comment in reaction to President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to suspend the abrogation of the VFA between Manila and Washington DC for another six months.

“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 said in a message to reporters.

Lorenzana also said the DND fully supports the President’s decision.

“Our bilateral cooperation with the US is geared towards upholding our national interest and to the extent necessary to enhance the Philippines’ defense capability,” he added.

The VFA lays out the terms and conditions on the entry and visit of US military troops for military exercises and other approved activities to the Philippines.

In February 2020, Duterte notified Washington that Manila is formally terminating the pact.

This is the third time that Duterte extended the suspension, the first of which was in June last year and the second in November. PNA.GOV.PH