DU30 ended 65 Years VFA Military Ties w/ U.S. leaves Ph defenseless in WPS and in CounterTerrorism


Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte orders US forces out of country, cutting 65 years of military ties


The president of the Philippines has promised to dismantle the nation’s 65-year military alliance with the United States, warning Washington not to treat the nation “like a doormat”.

Rodrigo Duterte has ordered 28 annual military exercises with US forces to be halted and an ongoing US-Philippines amphibious beach landing exercise to be the last in his six-year presidency.

“This year would be the last,” said Mr Duterte, referring to military exercises involving the US in a speech on Friday in southern Davao city.

“For as long as I am there, do not treat us like a doormat because you’ll be sorry for it. I will not speak with you. I can always go to China.”


In an attempt to draw back from what Mr Duterte views as too much dependence on the US, 107 American troops involved in operating surveillance drones against Islamic militants will be asked to leave the country once the Philippines acquires its own intelligence-gathering capabilities, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/rodrigo-duterte-orders-us-forces-out-of-the-philippines-cutting-65-years-of-military-ties-a7353961.html






US Defense Secretary: Termination of VFA ‘a move in a wrong direction


United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said that the looming termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the Philippines “would be a move in the wrong direction.”

Speaking to reporters while en route to Europe, the top American defense ranking official said it was “unfortunate” that the Philippines had to make such move at a time when the U.S. and its allies are pushing China to abide by international norms.


Read more: https://globalnation.inquirer.net/185242/us-defense-secretary-termination-of-vfa-a-move-in-a-wrong-direction#ixzz6EDG7JfEe Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Top US commander warns PH: VFA repeal could hurt fight vs terrorism in Mindanao

Manila has given “180-day notice so we have some time for diplomatic efforts,” Davidson said at an event in Sydney. “I hope we can get to a successful outcome.”

Trump has said he would be “fine” with the end of the VFA as it would save the United States “a lot of money”.


But Davidson insisted the move would hamper military operations in Duterte’s home island of Mindanao – where separatist and Islamist violence has killed some 100,000 people.

“Our ability to help the Philippines in their counter-violent extremist fight in the south, our ability to train and operate within the Philippines and with Philippines armed forces would be challenged without that visiting forces agreement,” he warned.


Though a landmark peace deal with the largest of the rebel groups, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, was sealed in 2019, the most brutal extremist factions were not included.


Those groups include the Islamic State-aligned BIFF and Abu Sayyaf, a kidnap-for-ransom gang that has been behind some of the nation’s deadliest attacks.

In late December 2019, at least 17 people – including soldiers – were injured in a dual hand grenade and IED attack on the island.

The rotating deployment of US troops in the country – coupled with a long-standing mutual defense pact and regular military exercises – is also seen as a bulwark against rising Chinese influence in the region.

Davidson praised the efforts of Indonesia in fending-off Chinese poaching in their waters and called for further cooperation between Pacific nations.


Read more: https://globalnation.inquirer.net/185285/top-us-commander-warns-ph-vfa-repeal-could-hurt-fight-vs-terrorism-in-south#ixzz6EDHGuUe0 Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook


Lacson sees early pullout of US troops


SEN. Panfilo Lacson on Sunday said the United States might start pulling out its forces and military equipment within the first 90 days of the 180-day countdown for the effectivity of the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between Manila and Washington.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defense said the countdown would end on August 9.

“Pero ang critical dito ang first 90 days (But the critical [phase in this period], is the first 90 days),” Lacson said in a radio interview.


Source: https://www.manilatimes.net/2020/02/17/news/national/lacson-sees-early-pullout-of-us-troops/686505/


US might start pulling out forces, equipment – Lacson



(Photo from Philippine Star)

SEN. Panfilo Lacson on Sunday said the United States might start pulling out its forces and military equipment within the first 90 days of the 180-day countdown for the effectivity of the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between Manila and Washington.

The senator, chairman of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defense, said the 180-day will end on August 9. “Formally, talagang wala na, mga August ito (Formally, it’s really gone, this will be around August),” he said.

“Pero ang critical dito, ang first 90 days (But the critical [phase in this period], is the first 90 days),” Lacson said in a radio interview.


Source: https://www.manilatimes.net/2020/02/16/second-headline/us-might-start-pulling-out-forces-equipment-lacson/686372/?fbclid=IwAR3PCFW9TglaBKh67rgHBFKn-hKpa8x0cLdYhI4tNf4P_sBomtv92LvPcV8


Military members disagree with VFA termination – senior officers


“It’s disadvantageous to us,” another officer – a general – told defense reporters in a message.

Without the VFA, the Philippine and US militaries would “lose the capacity to exercise meaningfully” because US troops would then be subjected to regular immigration processes such as securing visas if they were to stay in the Philippines for more than 21 days, the general said.

The VFA waived passport and visa requirements for US servicemen and women provided their full military credentials are vouched for by the US authority in charge of a particular exercise or activity in the Philippines. This paved the way for the entry of entire naval crews and marine battalions for regular drills with Filipino counterparts.

The two militaries hold an average of 300 joint activities every year, some of which run from several weeks to months, including preparations.


Source: https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/inside-track/251569-senior-officers-say-military-members-disagree-vfa-termination


VFA a necessary agreement, DFA chief says



(Photo From Global Inquirer)

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario admitted Thursday that there are flaws in the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and United States, but said abrogating it at this time would interrupt the two allies’ ongoing defense cooperation.

“It's not a perfect agreement,” Del Rosario told cable news ANC in an interview. “It's an imperfect agreement but given that, it's not plausible for us to amend at this time.” The VFA, ratified by the Philippine Senate in 1999, allows American troops to take part in large-scale military exercises with their Philippine counterparts in the country.


Source: https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/385868/vfa-an-imperfect-but-necessary-agreement-dfa-chief-says/story/

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