Senate leaders urge Pres. Duterte: Reconsider VFA abrogation

Senate leaders urge Pres. Duterte: Reconsider VFA abrogation

The call of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States of America(USA) has made some of our lawmakers think twice especially the tense situation in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
As the Senate is about to begin its review of the agreement, three senators have filed a joint resolution urging the Commander in Chief to reconsider the VFA’s abrogation.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Panfilo Lacson filed jointly filed resolution 312 expressing the sense of the Senate on the need for Duterte to reconsider his plan to unilaterally withdraw from the VFA with the US.
Filipino and American soldiers trooped around as they looked closely in one of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) vehicles included during the Balikatan Exercises at the Crow Valley Reservation in Capas, Tarlac
(photo credit to Manila Bulletin) 
“We concede that by constitutional fiat and by intrinsic nature of his office, the President, as head of state, is the sole organ and authority in the externals affairs of the country, being the chief architect of the nation’s foreign policy in the conduct of the external affairs of the nation,” the resolution read.
“Fully recognizing the authority of the Chief Executive and without intending to disrespect a co-equal body, prior to unilaterally terminating the VFA, the Senate should be given the opportunity to conduct a review and assessment of the impact of the withdrawal on the country’s security and economy, specifically with regard to intelligence information sharing, military aid and financing, and technical assistance extended by the US relative to the continuing threats posed by domestic and foreign terrorist groups and, ultimately, to the stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region,” it said.

The three senators is of the view that as a policymaking body, the Senate should also be given its view and opinion on the matters of military agreements with the country and the United States of America like the VFA, EDCA (Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement), and the MDT(Mutual Defense Treaty).
The resolution seeks to express the sense of the Senate “to earnestly request the President to reconsider his planned abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement in the meantime that the Senate is conducting a review and impact assessment with the end in view of ensuring the continued safety and security of the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific, and maintain the existing balance of power within the region.”

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Report from  PhilStar

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