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PH, US officials discuss VFA extension

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana recently discussed with US Embassy Charge d’Affaires John Law, among others, the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that had been extended for another six months after President Rodrigo Duterte junked it earlier this year.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier announced that Duterte decided to extend the VFA after unilaterally abrogating the defense pact that governed the stay of US troops in the Philippines.

John Law said the meeting focused on “robust and deep-rooted military cooperation.”

Duterte ordered the scrapping of the VFA after the US canceled the visa of Sen. Ronald dela Rosa. The VFA would have ended August 2020 following Duterte’s decision but in June 2020 the President suspended enforcement of his decision until end of the year.

The VFA now remains in effect until early 2021.

Lorenzana said embassy officials assured there would be no change in US-Philippine defense relations regardless of the outcome of the recent US presidential elections.

US President-elect Joe Biden is expected to take office on Jan. 20, 2021.

The US also offered military equipment including precision-guided ammunition worth $18 million for delivery December 2020.

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