Marcos raises 'need to redefine' Visiting Forces Agreement in meeting with US ofc'l

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2022 10:08 PM | Updated as of May 24 2022 08:39 AM

MANILA - Presumptive President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Monday said there is a need to "redefine" the terms under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States, citing the "changing environment" in the region.

"Security concerns have always been a big part of our relations with the United States" but the VFA - which governs the conduct of US troops who come to the Philippines for military drills and exercises - needs to be reviewed, Marcos said in press briefing after the courtesy visits of three ambassadors, and the United States' Charge de Affaires.

"Pinag-usapan namin ang re-signing or the extension of the VFA and how it needs to be redefined in the near future with the changing situation around the world especially in our region," he said.

Marcos did not give details on which portions of the VFA he hopes to change.

In 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to terminate the VFA over the cancelation of the US visa of Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa, his former police chief who was at the helm of his bloody war on drugs.

In the first quarter of 2021, Duterte suggested that the US must pay if it wants to keep its VFA with the Philippines, saying, "It's a shared responsibility, but your share of responsibility does not come free."

"After all, when the war breaks out, we all pay. You, kami (us), we are nearest to the garrison where there are a lot of arsenals of the Chinese armed forces," he added.

After five months, Duterte changed his mind and fully restored the Philippines' troop pact with United States.

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