The Visiting Forces Agreement, which governs the conduct of U.S. troops in the Philippines, will stay for at least six more months after President Rodrigo Duterte delayed the process to end or abrogate it, his chief envoy said Wednesday.
With the extension, the VFA will be in force past the scheduled handover of power in Washington to Democrat President-elect Jose Biden from incumbent Republican Donald Trump.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. conveyed Duterte's decision in a video statement posted on Twitter.
"...my President, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, has instructed me to convey with the appropriate formality his decision to extend the suspension of the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement by yet another six months, to enable us to find a more enhanced, mutually beneficial, mutually agreeable, and more effective and lasting arrangement on how to move forward in our mutual defense," Locsin said.
In June this year, Locsin sent a diplomatic note to the U.S. Embassy for the suspension of the abrogation of the treaty "in light of political and other developments in the region."