Duterte extends suspension of VFA abrogation for another 6 months – Locsin

President Rodrigo extended for another six months to suspension the abrogation of the Visiting Force Agreement (VFA) with the United States amid the continuous tensions in the South China Sea, Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Wednesday.

The President’s decision to extend the suspension of the VFA abrogation, Locsin said, will enable both sides “to find a more enhanced,  mutually beneficial, mutually agreeable, and more effective and lasting arrangement  on how to move forward  in our  mutual defense.”

“The past four years have changed the South China Sea from one of uncertainty about great powers’ intentions to one of predictability and resulting stability concerning what can and cannot be done, what will and will not be acceptable with regard to the conduct of any protagonist in the South China Sea. Clarity and strength have never posed a risk. It is confusion and indecision that aggravate risk,” Locsin said in a statement addressed to White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.

“A great deal of credit for the renewal of stability and security goes to deft diplomacy, unequivocal expressions of policy, sturdy postures of strength combined with unfailing tact, and pragmatic national security advice exhibited by both our governments in the same period.”

Duterte extends suspension of VFA abrogation for another 6 months

In February, Duterte ordered the termination of VFA with the United States.

The President first threatened to revoke the VFA after Senator and former PNP Chief Bato Dela Rosa’s was canceled.

“If you do not do the correction, one, I will terminate the bases, the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). I will finish that son of a bitch,” Duterte said in a wide-ranging speech before former Communist rebels. “I am giving the and the American government one month from now.”

Last week, Malacañang announced that Duterte may postpone the VFA termination with the United States.

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines () on Thursday said it would abide by President Rodrigo Duterte’s final decision on the VFA.

“We will abide fully by the final guidance of the President as regards the VFA.
From the perspective of AFP, the Visiting Forces Agreement translates to joint and interoperability opportunities to benefit both the Philippines and the United States of America,” AFP spokesman Major General Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.