MANILA - The Philippines will strengthen its military forces on its own and won't be seeking visiting forces agreements with other countries, Malacañang said Thursday after Manila terminated its military deal with the US.
"As far as the President is concerned we will not rely anymore on any foreign country for our defenses. We will have to strengthen our own resources," Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo told ANC's Early Edition.
"The President feels that it is about time that we stand on our own. We have to strengthen our own defenses against enemies of the state and this is the time for it. We should’ve abolished this agreement a long time ago."
There is "no reason," however, to scrap the country's existing VFA with Australia, he added.
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.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. signed the deal's termination even as he earlier told senators the importance of maintaining an alliance with the US.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he was also "advocating" for a review of the MDT to iron out a "disconnect" in the interpretation of the treaty.
The President's position to scrap the "one-sided" deal, however, remains "unchanged," Panelo said.
"He (Duterte) doesn’t have to consult anyone, he’s the chief architect of foreign policy. It is only if he's in a serious doubt of a move he made that he will consult anyone," he said.