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BFFs no more? US warns: VFA termination a ‘serious step with significant implications’ for alliance with PH

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The United States (US) warned Tuesday (February 11) of the “significant implications” of terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) after the Philippines sent notice of ending the accord.

In a statement, the US embassy in Manila said it had been informed by the Department of Foreign Affairs about the government’s intent to terminate the VFA.

“This is a serious step with significant implications for the U.S.-Philippines alliance. We will carefully consider how best to move forward to advance our shared interests,” the US embassy said.

“Our two countries enjoy a warm relationship, deeply rooted in history. We remain committed to the friendship between our two peoples,” it added.

The VFA is deemed terminated upon a party’s written notice of its intention to end the agreement. It will take effect 180 days after the notification was made.

The accord, which took effect in 1999, covers the conduct of American soldiers in the Philippines. It also provides for the passport- and visa-free entry of US forces.

DFA Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr. tweeted earlier in the day that he signed the notice terminating the VFA. Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said Locsin signed the notice after receiving President Rodrigo Duterte’s order from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

Duterte threatened to terminate the VFA last month after Senator Ronald Dela Rosa confirmed his US visa had been cancelled by the US government.

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