The ANC Brief: End of an era


Posted at Feb 13 2020 04:02 AM

The United States government has something to say about the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the Philippines. Here are the big stories making the headlines on ANC today:

National tragedy
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) was a move in the “wrong direction.” Former Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert del Rosario called the termination “a national tragedy.” New Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. said the AFP will live without the VFA. Justice Sec. Menardo Guevarra said the Philippines can sign agreements with other countries. It’s truly an end of an era. Will the VFA’s termination be good for the country?

The Philippines also skewered its relations with another nation after Taiwan was included in the travel ban to mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. The government invoked the “one China” policy that recognizes Taiwan as part of China even if the island is independently governed. In retaliation, Taiwan is considering cancelling the visa-free entry privileges for Filipinos. Manpower agencies deploying workers to Taiwan spoke out against the ban.

Just joking
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Solicitor General Jose Calida’s remarks to ABS-CBN Mike Navallo in their confrontation was a “joke.” In footage of their much publicized confrontation, a steel-faced Calida certainly didn’t look like he was joking. Meanwhile, House Committee on Legislative Franchises Vice Chair Isabela Rep. Antonio Albano said the committee is not twiddling its thumbs on the network’s franchise. He also said they will not be “coerced” into moving on the franchise.

No local transmission yet
The coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) isn’t technically spreading in the Philippines. But can authorities prevent local transmission of the virus in the country? The Department of Health (DOH) put more people under observation. The Department of Tourism said it foresees P42 billion lost between February to April.

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