Palace assures PH-US deal to benefit local soldiers


Posted at Aug 11 2013 02:18 PM | Updated as of Aug 11 2013 10:18 PM

MANILA - Malacanang said the military will benefit greatly in the future deal between the Philippines and the United States.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told radio dzRB that the negotiations, details of which would be announced on Monday, will “benefit our soldiers [in terms of] more knowledge and information sharing].”

She assured that the modalities that both parties shall agree on will be within the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) framework. The VFA, which was upheld by the Supreme Court, limits the troops' number and length of stay in the country.

In an advisory issued Sunday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said it will announce tomorrow the start of the negotiations with the goal of having a “possible framework agreement on [an] increased rotational presence.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin will be present. They will also introduce the members of the government panel.

The US has been the country’s major ally in fending off China’s bullying in the disputed seas. The US has consistently issued statements of its support of the Philippines’ move to bring to an arbitral panel the sea dispute.

The announcement also comes on the heels of several bombing incidents in Mindanao.

Meanwhile, Valte assured Filipinos that the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are working jointly to control any spillover of the bombings.

She also said there is no truth to rumors, circulating via text messages allegedly from the Marine headquarters, regarding more explosions in Mindanao.

“Let’s be forewarned versus those who want to spread misinformation,” she said.