MANILA - The Philippines and the United States hope to come to an understanding next month for the increased presence of American troops in the country.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Foreign Secretary Carlos Sorreta said: “There is still a need to hold further discussions on these to thresh out some issues, and hopefully both panels will be able to come to an understanding when we hold the fourth round of talks in Manila next month.”
Sorreta is also the spokesperson of the panel discussing the deal with the United States.
He said the two sides discussed key provisions during the last round of negotiations last week at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., such as the duration and termination, ownership, prepositioning of defense equipment, supplies and materiel, and agreed installations.
He said there were also informal discussions on environmental policies and standards.
Meanwhile, both nations agreed that their respective Defense departments will be the designated implementing authorities of the proposed framework agreement.
Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino, the head of the Philippine panel of negotiators said: “Both sides concurred that the designated authorities of the agreement would be the [Department of National Defense] and the [US Department of Defense]. This reflects the very nature of the agreement that it is an executive agreement.”
The working title of the accord has also been changed to "Framework Agreement Between the Philippines and the United States on Enhanced Cooperation and Rotational Presence”.