Power Play

In tussle for influence, US and China may have to woo another Duterte

As attention turns to who will succeed President Rodrigo Duterte, polls show his daughter is leading the race

ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO
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With President Rodrigo Duterte entering his lame-duck year in office, the fate of a key military pact between the Philippines and the United States will be up to whoever succeeds him in May next year.

This pact, known as the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), was signed in 1998. It gives legal cover to thousands of US troops who are rotated in the Philippines for military exercises and humanitarian assistance operations.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2021, with the headline In tussle for influence, US and China may have to woo another Duterte. Subscribe