President Rodrigo Duterte, in a speech delivered before Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) troop in Clark Air Base in Pampanga after inspecting newly-delivered air assets February 12, said that United States has to “pay” if it wants the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to remain in effect.
The US should give the Philippines something in return, especially since the latter is the “nearest, possible and convenient outpost,” Duterte said.
“You want the Visiting Forces Agreement done? Well, you have to pay. It’s a shared responsibility. But your share of responsibility does not come free because after all when the war breaks out, we all pay. We’re nearest to the garrison there, a lot of arsenals of the Chinese armed forces… I hope that the Americans would take notice of that,” he said.
His statement came amid the uncertain status of VFA, a 1998 military pact between Manila and Washington that authorizes American troops participating in joint military drills to visit the Philippines without passport and visa.
The Philippines formally notified the US about its intent to revoke the VFA in February 2020.
However, the VFA remains in effect after Duterte ordered on June 1 last year the suspension of VFA termination “in light of political and other developments in the region”. with PNA