Duterte Recalls Order to Junk VFA, DND Chief Tells Pentagon Boss

On the 75th anniversary of US-PH diplomatic relations.
Photo/s: Screen Grab: Facebook/DND

The Visiting Forces Agreement between Manila and Washington will be fully restored after President Rodrigo Duterte took back his order to have the military pact terminated, the Philippines' defense chief told his American counterpart.

Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana announced the development in a joint briefing with Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin, who is on a multi-nation swing in Asia.

"The VFA is in full force again after Secretary Austin's meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte," Lorenzana told reporters.

The VFA governs the conduct of U.S. troops while on in the Philippines for joint exercises.

Duterte sought its termination as he pivoted the Philippines alliances away from the U.S. and towards China and Russia.

The order to junk VFA before came after Duterte was outraged over the visa cancellation of Senator Ronald Dela Rosa, his then-police chief and now ally in the legislature.

The U.S. denied Dela Rosa a visa after its Senate passed a resolution that sought to impose sanctions on Philippine authorities involved in the bloody war on the drugs, as well as in the detention of senator Leila De Lima, which it believed was wrongful.

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After expressing his intent to terminate, Duterte had prolonged the process after he suspended it three times to accomodate negotiations. 

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