Philippines starts process of terminating VFA with US, officials say

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
Philippines starts process of terminating VFA with US, officials say
In this Apr. 24, 2019 photo, a US Marine takes accountability for equipment during a maritime prepositioning force onload at Subic Bay.
US Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Mark Fike

MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Commission on Visiting Forces (PCVF) has started the process of terminating the country's Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States following the remarks of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The president has threatened to end the VFA unless the US will "correct" the termination of Sen. Bato dela Rosa's visa.

The senator and former top cop earlier revealed that the US government has canceled his visa as part of the US Magnitsky law that sanctions Philippine officials involved in the drug war.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president has directed the VFA committee to start the process Friday night.

"The direction is, we are starting the process," Panelo told reporters.

Locsin, Lorenzana to inform US Senate

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will contact the US Senate first to inform them of the country's intent to withdraw the agreement.

Locsin and Lorenzana are chair and vice chair of the PCVF that is tasked to supervise and monitor the VFA entered by the Philippines with the US.

"Del Lorenzana & I—as Vice and Chair of USVFA—are starting the process of terminating it by first contacting the Senate because it is a treaty on our side, an executive agreement on the US side," Locsin tweeted Friday.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, meanwhile, said his agency is still studying the termination of the VFA.

"I have been asked to study the procedure. Still ongoing. I'll complete my study today," Guevarra said.

Under Article IX of the VFA, the agreement "shall remain in force until the expiration of 180 days from the date on which either party gives the other party notice in writing that it desires to terminate the agreement."

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 27, 2020 - 5:37am

US President Donald Trump has signed into law banning the US entry of those behind Sen. Leila de Lima’s detention. Follow this page for updates. 

February 25, 2020 - 4:32pm

Sen. Leila de Lima's media officer confirms all names previously mentioned in the senator's earlier dispatch are in the list of "prosecutors" submitted to the US Embassy.

The list includes President Rodrigo Duterte, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo and Solicitor General Jose Calida.



January 29, 2020 - 7:44pm

President Duterte says no Cabinet member will be allowed to go to the US indefinitely.

January 23, 2020 - 9:08pm

President Duterte threatens to end the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the US unless the cancellation of Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa's visa is reversed within one month.

January 3, 2020 - 8:35am

Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey has reacted on the Philippine government's move to ban the US senator from entering the country after voicing support for a US travel ban on Philippine officials involved in the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima. 

“President Duterte is sorely mistaken if he thinks he can silence my voice and that of my colleagues,” says Markey in a press release.

Markey, the third US senator barred from the Philippines, says Duterte has already failed to silence De Lima, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and many others "who have spoken truth to power."  

"I stand with the people of the Philippines and with my state’s vibrant Filipino-American community in fighting for the highest democratic ideals and against the strongman tactics of the Duterte government,” he adds.

December 27, 2019 - 1:53pm

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo says the government will require all Americans to secure a visa before they enter the Philippines if the US government enforce the ban from entry into US territory against officials involved in Sen. Leila de Lima's "lawful imprisonment."

"The Philippines is immediately ordering the Bureau of Immigration to deny US Sens. Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy the imperious, uninformed and gullible American legislators who introduced the subject provision in the US 2020 budget, entry to the Philippines," says Panelo in a press briefing. 

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