THE United States government was pleased that President Rodrigo Duterte decided to postpone the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement, raising hopes that the agreement will continue.
“Of course, we’re very happy about that, as you know both countries have sat down and I wouldn’t really call it a negotiation but clarifications of the terms of agreement which was completed,” Philippine Ambassador to US Jose Manuel Romualdez said in a Malacañang briefing.
Duterte relayed his decision to suspend the termination last June 14 while he studies and both sides address his concerns about some aspects of the security pact.
Hoping for its continuation, Romualdez underscored that the VFA had been one of the many aspects of the “very important” Philippine-US bilateral relations.
“I’m one of those who believe that it’s really important for us because it’s mutually beneficial anyway. To be honest about it, the VFA I think has benefitted our military of which Secretary (Delfin) Lorenzana has confirmed on several occasions. We are hoping this will continue and of course, the US government, especially the US military establishment is very pleased with this development that the president has extended it for another six months,” he said.
“We’re hoping that it will perhaps be better than it ever was in terms of the kind of agreement that we had with them and (that) it will be mutually beneficial for both our militaries,” he added. Philippine News Agency