President Rodrigo Duterte officially ordered the cancellation of the Visiting Forces Agreement Friday.
On a text message, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that Duterte already ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to send the United States an official letter to inform them that they want to end the VFA already.
“I instruct the Executive Secretary to tell him [Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.] to send the notice of termination to the US government,” Panelo said.
Panelo also revealed that President Rodrigo Duterte and U.S leader Donald Trump are “expected to talk” about still not yet known.
However, there’s already speculated that the two leaders might talk about the VFA.
Duterte first revealed his plan to scrap VFA after the US canceled the visa of Senator Ronald Dela Rosa who’s a long-time ally of the President without any explanation.
“I am warning you kapag hindi ninyo ginawa ang correction diyan (if you don’t issue a correction) I will terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement… Tapusin ko iyan p*t*ng*n* iyan (I will end that). I am giving notice and they begin to count. I am giving government and the American government one month from now,” Duterte said in a speech a few weeks ago.
Defense Secretary Lorenzana said that he’s going to support President Duterte’s plan to end the VFA despite his stand.
“The pros and cons were laid out and it is clear that we also benefit in terms of grants from the VFA. But the President, as the ultimate authority on foreign relations, has decided. And whatever he decides on this matter has my unqualified support.” he said.
DFA Secretary Locsin also pointed out that the Philippines might lose billions-worth of assistance from the US.
“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 benefits were it to be terminated,” he said.
They still need to wait for 180 days before the VFA termination becomes effective.