DND chief says VFA with China needed for military exercises

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2017 09:22 PM

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza on Thursday said the Philippines will need a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with China for military exercise purposes.

President Rodrigo Duterte previously said he wanted to have joint military exercises with China.

Lorenza said the dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea will not get in the way of military exercises.

"A military exercise with China is still doable but a communique has to be developed before proceeding with the activity," he said.

Lorenza added that a VFA is needed in order to set parameters for the exercises. 

"We need an agreement, anong pwedeng gawin nila dito, yung mga barko, kailan ang duration," he said.

"And if the troops will go into our territory, the territorial waters, or land, baka kailangan natin ng Visiting Forces Agreement."

The Philippine Constitution bans foreign troops in the country unless there is a treaty allowing it, which must be approved by the Senate. 

Article XVIII, Section 25, of the Constitution states that “foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.”