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Relations between two traditional allies have reached a new low after Manila warned the US that it is ending an agreement that allows American troops to set foot on the Philippines soil.
Manila sent formal notice to the US embassy on Tuesday that it is terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
@DFAPHL The Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the United States has received the notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement. As a diplomatic courtesy there will be no further factual announcements following this self-explanatory development. https://t.co/qQhywEpcea
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) February 11, 2020
President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson Salvador Panelo said it was done in order to be independent from Washington in military affairs.
It’s about time we rely on ourselves, we will strengthen our own defenses and not rely on any other country.
Panelo told reporters that the nation is open to signing VFAs with other countries as long as they are “mutually beneficial, not one-sided.”
Signed in 1998, the VFA regulates the entry of US warships, aircraft and soldiers into the Philippines. It also allows US troops to be immune from prosecution by local authorities for some crimes committed on the Philippines soil.