For US President Donald Trump, the VFA is all about the money. Here are the stories making the headlines on ANC today:
Dollars and cents
US President Donald Trump said he is fine with the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the Philippines. He also said the US will be able to save money, typical of Trump to reduce an important agreement that has far-reaching effects in the region to dollars and cents. Earlier, President Duterte said Trump was trying to “save” the VFA. The Palace said Duterte may also terminate the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) also with the U.S. The Pentagon’s top military official in Asia-Pacific, Admiral Philip Davidson, said the scrapping of the VFA would hurt counter terrorism efforts in the Philippines. Senate leaders are moving to contest the abrogation of the VFA.
In a taped message, President Duterte urged Filipinos to remain calm and vigilant as figures on deaths related to the coronavirus in China spiked. In a previous speech, he played down the threat by saying the virus was “nothing really to be extra scared of.” Meanwhile, Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello asked the Department of Health (DOH) to lift the travel ban on Taiwan for returning OFWs. But Health Sec. Francisco Duque said the inclusion of Taiwan in the travel ban wasn’t their call and that it was an interagency task force that made the decision.
Statements of support
Senators are backing moves to probe the franchise of ABS-CBN. Sen. Win Gatchalian said President Duterte may be invited to the probe. Meanwhile, the network has been receiving a flood of statements of support from various media groups and supporters.
Cops in narco-list
Police Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido, an argent operator in the war on drugs, is included in the President’s narco-list. But instead of answering reporters’ questions on Espenido’s inclusion in the list, PNP Chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said he felt “insulted” by the question. On officers under probe for drug links, Gamboa said they deserve confidentiality. He also asked for “respect.”
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