President Rodrigo Duterte has notified the United States government that if it cannot provide at least 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine the abrogation of Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which was suspended twice, will push through.
President Duterte made the statement during a meeting with Cabinet members, infectious diseases experts, and members of the academe to tackle various concerns on COVID-19, particularly the recently discovered coronavirus strain, at the Heroes Hall in Malacañang Palace, December 26.
“If America wants to help, you deliver, stop talking. What we need is the vaccine, not your verbose speeches,” the President said. “Iyong Visiting Forces Agreement, matatapos na. Ngayon kapag hindi ako pumayag aalis talaga sila.”
“Kung hindi sila makadeliver ng maski nalang minimum of mga 20 million [doses] of vaccine, they better get out,” Duterte said. “No vaccine, no stay here.”
President Duterte notified the US government on VFA’s abrogation in February this year, however, before the abrogation took effect, he suspended the abrogation in June. The abrogation was again suspended in November for another 6 months.
Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said in November that President Duterte is studying the request of US President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien for a longer suspension of the VFA abrogation.