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Duterte asks public: Abrogate or renew VFA?

By Deighton Acuin and Archie Villaflores

PHOTO: Manila Bulletin/PCOO

President Rodrigo Duterte is now seeking for public’s opinion because he is now could not make a decision on whether to “abrogate or renew” the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

In his weekly Talk to the People on Wednesday night, Duterte said he wants to hear the views of Filipinos regarding the VFA and urged them to send their reports via Citizens’ Complaint Center or 8888.

“If you have the stomach for it, I will be talking about the Visiting Forces Agreement. I must be frank, I do not keep secrets. I have not yet decided on what to do. Meaning to say, to abrogate or renew [the suspension] because I want to hear the people,” Duterte said.

“I want the narratives to come up. Not necessarily from the… pero hindi limitado dito sa Congress, ang ordinaryong mamamayan can have the say. There’s always the 8888 and you can enter your objections and comment that you would think would help the country,” Duterte added.

Earlier, Duterte demanded the United States to pay for the continuation of the activities under the bilateral agreement.

In December 2020, he warned to continue the abrogation if the U.S. could not provide the country with its developed coronavirus vaccines.

It was in February 2020 when the Philippine government – upon the instruction of Duterte – sent to the US a notice to terminate VFA. The termination was supposed to take effect in August 2020.

However, the scrapping of VFA was shelved for six months in June. The six-month suspension ended in December.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has said the Philippines and the US will iron out their differences over the VFA this month.


RELATED ARTICLE: Philippine Daily Inquirer