DUTERTE FREEZES JUNKING OF VFA

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has frozen his own vow to finally dispatch the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States to the Philippine Deep barely a month after a telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump, Karen Lema of Reuters wrote on June 2, 2020. “The abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement has been suspended upon the President’s instruction,” Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said on Twitter.


The official notice of the suspension, which Locsin posted, said the decision was taken “in light of political and other developments in the region.” VFA was sealed in 1999 to regulate the operations of visiting US military forces but Duterte cancelled the deal after his political ally, Sen. Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, had his visa to the US cancelled for his leading role in the Tokhang anti-illegal drug campaign. “The abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement has been suspended upon the President’s instruction,” Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said on Twitter. The official notice of the suspension, which Locsin posted, said the decision was taken “in light of political and other developments in the region.”

Duterte’s change of heart also came suspiciously in the heels of the much-hyped approval of the US Defense Department to sell six Apache helicopter gunships as well as rockets, missiles, and guidance systems worth $1.5 billion and another six Viper helicopter gunships and munitions in a separate $450 million deal even as the country is still under a lockdown and the number of COVID-19 fatalities has soared o nearly 1,000.

Groups in the US led by the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) have petitioned the US Congress to throw out the weapons sales funded by taxpayer dollars.

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