Palace: President Duterte may suspend VFA abrogation for another six months

(Eagle News)–President Rodrigo Duterte may suspend the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement for another six months.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the comment in a television interview aired on Wednesday, Nov. 4.

“But anyway, what I am saying is, there is no immediate rush for the President to decide because the notification we sent to the Americans gives them at least one year leeway before it’s abrogated,” Roque said.

The President  ordered the suspension of the agreement, which governs the conduct of US military and civilian personnel  visiting the Philippines, in February.

The President had cited what he said were inequities in the implementation of the same in giving the order.

This was after now-Senator Bato Dela Rosa confirmed his US visa had been cancelled, apparently over the country’s drug war, of which he was the principal architect as Philippine National Police chief then.

The President had earlier lashed out against the US for what he said was its interference in the country’s affairs over the drug campaign that has the support of majority of Filipinos.

In June, however,  President Duterte suspended the abrogation of the VFA, citing the COVID-19 pandemic, among other developments.

“The suspension shall start on even date and shall continue for six months, which period is extendible by the Philippines for another six months, after which the tolling of the initial period in Note Verbale No. 20-0463 dated 11 February 2020 shall resume,” the diplomatic note sent by the Department of Foreign Affairs to the US embassy said.