Palace says it welcomes US President Trump’s statement accepting President Duterte’s decision to end VFA


Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo holds a press briefing on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, in Malacanang. (Photo grabbed from RTVM video)

(Eagle News) – Malacanang said that it welcomes the statement of US President Donald Trump accepting  President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Trump said that he is “fine” with the Philippines’ decision to end VFA and this would even save a lot of money for the US.

“If they would like to do that, that’s fine, we’ll save a lot of money,” Trump told reporters at the White House, touting his “very good relationship” with the Philippine president.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that this is a welcome development and meant that Trump agreed with Duterte’s decision.

Then he’s (Trump) is welcome. If he has said that, how can we be more pompous than the pope,” he told a news conference on Thursday, Feb. 13, in Malacanang.

“Maybe he agrees with the position of the President that it’s time that we stand on our own resources and defend our country from enemies of the state by ourselves and not rely on the help of other countries,” Panelo said.

“We weaken ourselves when we keep on being parasites to other countries,” he added.

-After VFA termination, EDCA and MDT might end too, says Panelo-

The Palace spokesperson also spoke about the possibility of ending even the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) EDCA and the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

The two agreements are tied up with the VFA.

EDCA is an agreement between the US and the Philippines intended to bolster the U.S.–Philippine alliance, and is considered a supplemental agreement to the VFA.

It allows the United States to rotate troops in the country for extended stays and also allows the U.S. to build and operate facilities on Philippine bases, for both American and Philippine forces.  It also gives Philippine personnel access to American ships and planes

The agreement was signed on April 28, 2014 by then Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg in Manila.

The Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), on the other hand, was signed on August 30, 1951, in Washington, D.C. It contains eight articles and dictates that both nations would support each other if either the Philippines or the United States are attacked by an external party.

Panelo said that judging by President Duterte’s body language, these two treaties might also be going next.

“To be consistent with his stand, then all treaties must go by the tone of his body language,” he said.

But he said that the Palace would wait for the recommendation of the Senate on the matter.

Just the same, Panelo said, “If the premise of the President is that we have to strengthen ourselves then that means we will not be relying on other countries for our own defenses.”

“We have to stand on our own,” he said.

But Panelo clarified that he had not yet asked President Duterte specifically on this.

(Eagle News Service)