CALOOCAN CITY, June 3 (PIA) -- The Department of National Defense (DND) today said it stands behind government's decision to suspend the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which was officially communicated by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to the United States Embassy in Manila on June 1.
"The Philippine defense establishment is ready to continue working closely with our US counterparts to find solutions to common concerns, such as the ongoing pandemic that has greatly affected both our countries," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement sent to the PIA NCR.
The defense chief said the DND and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would consult with the Office of the Presidential Commission on Visiting Forces in order to clarify certain issues.
"In times of crises and global uncertainty, it is our belief that nations are only made stronger if we work together and focus our efforts on tackling the various challenges that confront us all," Lorenzana said.
To recall, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte earlier directed Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. to send a formal notification to Washington DC regarding Manila's decision to revoke the VFA, which was signed in February 1998.
Locsin, then announced that the formal termination notice has already been received by the US government.
The VFA's effectivity will end 180 days from the day the US formally received the formal notice from the Philippines.
The agreement exempts American forces from passport and visa regulations and allows them to use their permits and licenses in the Philippines.
It also gives the US jurisdiction over its troops who committed unlawful acts in the Philippines, unless these crimes can be punished in the host country. (PIA NCR)