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Philippines’ President Plans to Terminate Defense Pact with US

Saturday 8 February 2020
Philippines’ President Plans to Terminate Defense Pact with US

Alwaght- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte plans to terminate the country's visiting forces agreement with the United States, which provides legal immunity to US military drills, in retaliation for the US canceling the visa of a political ally and fellow drug-warrior

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told ABS-CBN News on Friday “The president said he is terminating the VFA … I asked for clarification and he said he is not changing his decision.”

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte was scheduled to speak to US President Donald Trump at "any time," but the agenda was not clear.

"I will instruct the executive secretary to tell the foreign secretary to send the notice of termination to the US government," Panelo quoted Duterte as saying.

It was not clear when the notice would be sent.

Enraged by the US decision to cancel the visa of former police chief and Senator Roland dela Rosa last month, Duterte had given Washington a month to fix its ‘mistake,’ refusing to back down even as other members of his government urged him to reconsider.

 “I’m warning you… if you won’t do the correction on this, I will terminate the… Visiting Forces Agreement,” Duterte said last month, daring the US to call his bluff.

At the end of last year, Duterte had also ordered a ban on US senators from entering the Philippines.

That was in response to the US doing the same against Filipino officials who played a role in the detention of opposition Senator Leila De Lima, a staunch critic of the president's campaign against illegal drugs.

The president has barred his cabinet officials from travelling to the US and turned down an invitation to join a special meeting with Trump and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations in March.

 

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