Other defense deals with US like EDCA won’t be scrapped — Panelo

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Malacanang Spokesman Sal Panelo.

MANILA, Philippines —Malacanang said Sunday other defense agreements between the Philippines and its traditional ally the United States are safe save for the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which President Duterte ordered lately its cancellation.

The VFA was signed in 1998. It allows Filipino and American troops to conduct joint trainings in Philippine soil.

A year later, it was ratified by the Senate amid massive protests by activists who claim it would violate Philippine sovereignty and last week President Duterte ordered its termination in response to the cancellation of the US visa of his political ally and former police chief Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, allegedly involved in the administration’s war on drugs.

Asked what would happen to the other defense agreements with the US, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo replied: “Nadoon pa din. Di naman mababago yung mga iyon. Iyong VFA lang naman yung pinag-uusapan (They are still there. They won’t change. We are just talking about the VFA)” Presidential Spokesman Sal Panelo said in a radio interview Sunday.

“He (Duterte) did not say (that the other agreements would be terminated). He just mentioned one (VFA),” Panelo added.

Aside from the VFA, other defense agreements between Manila and Washington include the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), a 2014 pact that provides American troops access to some Philippine military bases; and the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) signed in 2002.

Said agreements were in line with the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty for PH and US to jointly develop security capabilities and counter external armed aggression.

Panelo also added removal of the VFA will not have substantial changes in the relationship between the Philippines and the US.

“As I said, only the VFA would be terminated. So there is nothing to speculate about our alliance with the (United) States. It will be the same. Nothing will change. As I said the VFA is more on the privileges granted to the American military personnel,” the Palace spokesman said. (IAMIGO/Currentph.com)

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