Duterte's retraction of VFA abrogation hailed by US Embassy

Published July 30, 2021, 3:12 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The United States Embassy on Friday welcomed the decision of President Duterte’s decision to retract the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

United States Embassy in Manila

“We strongly believe that the VFA, and the broader alliance that the VFA enables, strengthens not only the security of our two nations, but also the rules-based order that benefits all nations in the Indo-Pacific,” the US Embassy said in a statement.

The US Embassy also cited the statement earlier made by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III highlighting that a “strong, resilient U.S.-Philippine alliance” will remain vital to the security, stability, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific.

“A fully restored VFA will help us achieve that goal together,” said Austin who arrived in the Philippines Thursday for talks with President Duterte and other stakeholders and government leaders.

In a press briefing on Friday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced the decision of Duterte to recall the VFA’s abrogation.

“The president decided to recall or retract the termination letter for the VFA,” Lorenzana said after emerging from an hour-long meeting with Austin.

“There is no termination letter pending and we are back on track,” Lorenzana said in reference to the VFA.

In February last year, Duterte directed Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locin Jr. to serve the notice of VFA termination to the US government through the US Embassy in Manila.

The President’s action was apparently triggered by the cancellation of the US visa of his ally, former PNP chief and now Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.