'Mukhang ayaw niya na rin': Duterte may also scrap EDCA, says Panelo

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 13 2020 10:03 AM | Updated as of Feb 13 2020 11:29 AM

MANILA - After scrapping the Visiting Forces Agreement, President Rodrigo Duterte may also scrap the country's Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US, an executive agreement that allows for greater rotational presence of US troops in the Philippines, his spokesman said Thursday.

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"The way his body language says mukhang ayaw niya na rin 'yan. Considering na sinasabi niyang it’s about time we stand on our own, strengthen our resources, our capability," Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in an interview.

(The way his body language says it seems he doesn't like that too. Considering he's saying it’s about time we stand on our own, strengthen our resources, our capability.)

"We cannot be relying (on other countries) forever, cannot be a parasite to every country na gusto nating tumulong sa atin (that we want to help us)."

Duterte, however, will leave it up to the Senate to review the country's Mutual Defense Treaty with the US, which obligates both nations to come to each other's defense in case of an attack. 

In the interview, Panelo said Duterte does not want to renegotiate the country's VFA with the US. 

Manila on Tuesday formally notified the US of the VFA's termination, which the US Embassy received on the same day. The pact's termination will take effect after 180 days.

"Hindi. Hindi nga siya open na tayo’y pumasok sa military agreement sa ibang bansa," Panelo said when asked if the President was open to renegotiating the VFA, which governs the conduct of American troops in the Philippines.

(No. He's not even open to the Philippines entering into a military agreement with other countries.)

"Kasi sinasabi niya hindi pwedeng forever tayo umaasa sa ibang bansa sa ating depensa. Tumayo na tayo mag-isa."

(He's saying we can't forever rely on other countries to defend us. We have to stand on our own.)

US President Donald Trump said he was "fine" with the Philippines canceling the military pact, adding that the decision would save Americans money.