^
âUS values Philippines as equal partner in bilateral allianceâ
“The department welcomes the government of the Philippines’ decision to again suspend termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement. “We value the Philippines as an equal, sovereign partner in our bilateral alliance.”
DFA Facebook page

‘US values Philippines as equal partner in bilateral alliance’

Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - June 17, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The United States values the Philippines as an “equal” and sovereign partner, the US Department of Defense said in welcoming Manila’s decision to postpone termination of the Philippines-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

“The department welcomes the government of the Philippines’ decision to again suspend termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA),” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement. “We value the Philippines as an equal, sovereign partner in our bilateral alliance.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced on Monday the decision of President Duterte to extend the suspension of the abrogation of the VFA by another six months.

The VFA, an implementation of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) forged by the US and the Philippines as security partners after World War II, provides the legal framework under which US troops can operate on a rotational basis in the Philippines.

“Our partnership contributes not only to the security of our two nations, but also strengthens the rules-based order that benefits all nations in the Indo-Pacific,” Kirby added.

In November, the US sought a “longer” extension of the VFA to allow negotiations to address important concerns of both sides.

The Philippine embassy in Washington said it supports the President’s decision. “The Philippines-US relations remain strong and dynamic in all aspects, especially in our cooperation in the road towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the embassy said in a statement.

The embassy said it continues to engage and work with the US for the security and progress of both countries, as well as in maintaining the rules-based order in the region.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejena agrees with the President’s decision to again temporarily set aside terminating the VFA.

“We will adhere to the guidance of the President and our Commander-in-Chief as regards the VFA. The VFA is a cornerstone of our alliance with the United States, that has benefitted both our countries’ armed forces,” he said.

Sobejana said the VFA, which allows the holding of the annual Balikatan exercises, benefits both the Philippines and the US military.

“The VFA specifically provides opportunities for joint and interoperability trainings between the AFP and US Forces, which is in furtherance of the existing Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951,” he explained.

Ranking congressmen have opposing views on the decision of President Duterte to again defer the abrogation of the country’s VFA with the United States for another six months. – Michael Punongbayan, Edu Punay, Delon Porcalla

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