President Duterte is putting his foot down against the alleged “inferior” treatment given by the United States to its longtime ally the Philippines.
Addressing the nation Monday night, the President said he intends to carefully study the country’s visiting forces agreement (VFA) with the United States after noticing that American merely treated the country as an “early warning detachment.”
Duterte said he once mentioned this concern during his conversation with then US President Donald Trump when he declined his invitation to visit the United States.
“I will like to just study very carefully with the coming of a renegotiation of the visiting forces agreement (VFA). Something has got to give,” Duterte said in his remarks aired on state television.
“President Trump invited me several times but I said for as long as you treat us like a something like inferior, ginagawa ninyo lang kami detachment ninyo (you’re making us a detachment), you’re making the Philippines a sort of early warning device detachment bago mag-abot ng Amerika (before reaching America), I said this could not happen during my time,” he said.
The President earlier wanted to scrap the military pact over alleged unequal provisions and US meddling but agreed to defer the termination for a year amid global challenges such as the pandemic.
The VFA, signed between Manila and Washington in 1998, spells out the guidelines of US troops when visiting the Philippines. It also affirms the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperate Agreement that allows US soldiers to conduct joint exercises with Filipino troops.
Recently, Duterte told the United States to pay if it wanted to retain the VFA with the country.