VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Palace negates AFP chief, says PH ‘not open’ to new military agreements

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo contradicted newly appointed Armed Forces Chief Felimon Santos Jr., who said the Philippines will “push” for the approval of visiting forces agreements (VFA) with other countries.

In a Feb. 13 radio interview, Panelo was asked about the Duterte administration’s next move following its termination of the country’s VFA with the United States. He said the president was no longer open to re-negotiating the deal, nor was he inclined to forge new military agreements with other countries.

But just a day prior, Santos said the Armed Forces of the Philippines will “increase bilateral exercises [and] agreements” with other countries to “fill” the gap the U.S. VFA will leave behind.

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Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. sent the VFA termination notice to the U.S. Embassy in Manila on Feb. 11. The termination will take effect 180 days after either party has notified the other in writing of its intent to withdraw from the agreement.

Aside from the U.S. VFA, the country has a SOVFA with the Australian government, and has been negotiating a similar deal with Japan since 2015. (See VERA FILES FACT SHEET: The Visiting Forces Agreement, explained)



ABS-CBN News, Duterte may also scrap EDCA, says Panelo: ‘Mukhang ayaw niya na rin’ | DZMM, Feb. 13, 2020, AFP eyes VFAs with China, Japan, Feb. 13, 2020

GMA News Online, AFP chief Santos admits VFA termination will affect military capability, Feb. 12, 2020

News 5, FALLOUT | Military chief prepares measures to cushion impact of VFA termination, Feb. 12, 2020

Manila Bulletin, CA confirms Felimon Santos as AFP chief of staff; weighs VFA pros, cons, Feb. 12, 2020

Teodoro Locsin Jr. official Twitter account, @DFAPHL The Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the United States has received the notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement, Feb. 11, 2020

Official Gazette, Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the United States of America Regarding the Treatment of United States Armed Forces Visiting the Philippines, Feb. 10,1998


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