Philippines to end defence pact with US

A 2014 photo showing the US and the Philippines conducting joint military live fire exercises at Fort Magsaysay army training camp in the Philippine province of Nueva Ecija.
A 2014 photo showing the US and the Philippines conducting joint military live fire exercises at Fort Magsaysay army training camp in the Philippine province of Nueva Ecija.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

The Philippines yesterday officially informed the United States that it was terminating a pact allowing American troops to hold military exercises in the country.

Signed in 1998, the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) allowed thousands of US troops to be rotated in the Philippines for military exercises and humanitarian assistance operations.

President Rodrigo Duterte's allies had tried to dissuade him from making the decision. Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said abrogating the accord would undermine the Philippines' security and foster aggression in the disputed South China Sea.

American forces have provided intelligence, training and aid that allowed the Philippines to deal with human trafficking and terrorism.

The US Embassy in Manila said the VFA's termination "is a serious step with significant implications for the US-Philippine alliance".

SEE WORLD: Philippines scraps key defence pact with US

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2020, with the headline 'Philippines to end defence pact with US'. Print Edition | Subscribe