US Defense Secretary Mark Esper prepares to testify before the House Armed Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill Feb. 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.
AFP/Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America
Pentagon 'not prepared' for quick VFA termination — Philippine envoy
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - February 28, 2020 - 4:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — The United States government was not prepared for President Rodrigo Duterte's abrupt move to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said Friday.

Romualdez said the US, particularly members of the US Department of Defense or the Pentagon, are "extremely concerned" about the termination of the VFA.

"It's a natural thing for them to be concerned... in the sense that we could say that they were not prepared for something as quickly as that one although they have contingencies," Romualdez told reporters at the sidelines of a forum in Makati City.

The Philippine envoy said the Pentagon was particularly concerned about the impact of VFA's cancellation on the relationship between Manila and Washington.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper earlier said the decision of the Philippines to end the VFA would be "a move in the wrong direction" even as his boss, US President Donald Trump said later on he did not mind Duterte's unilateral cancellation of the agreement.

The Pentagon chief had indicated that the VFA termination could only embolden China to violate international laws. "And as we try and, you know, bolster our presence and compete with them (China) in this era of great power competition, I think it's a move in the wrong direction," Esper had said.

But Trump said of Duterte's cancellation of VFA: "If they would like to do that, that's fine. We'll save a lot of money."

JOSE MANUEL ROMUALDEZ PENTAGON US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE US-PHILIPPINES TIES VISITING FORCES AGREEMENT
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with