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On February 11, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Manila would denounce the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), an agreement that allows the U.S. military to move freely within and inside the Philippines. Dutertes` decision was greeted in Washington with deep concern about the potential impact on the indopazive strategy (PDF), which is primarily aimed at countering China`s growing ability to prevail. “It is entirely within the right of the Philippine government to do so if it finds that the agreement is no longer in our national interest,” Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana said on January 24. But there is a glimmer of hope in Duterte`s announcement: according to the agreement, the official termination of the VFA will only take effect for 180 days, meaning Washington and Manila will go into effect until August 9 have time to save them or negotiate a new VFA to avoid a new alliance crisis. The challenge is that Duterte is an extremely American anti-American president who could attempt to eliminate the MDT as a whole in favor of greater autonomy and a better relationship with China and Russia. But success would say a lot about the alliance`s sustainability despite the corporals of an autocratic president. It is considered an agreement that complements the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), another agreement between the Philippines and the United States, which guarantees that the two countries would provide each other with military assistance if their metropolitan areas or Pacific territories were attacked by a foreign force. If the Philippine government decides to impose the termination of the VFA, it only has to inform the United States in writing of its intention to terminate the contract. The Agreement shall remain in force for 180 days after the sending of this Communication. Inquirer.net, PH, Japan begins discussing the visiting forces agreement, June 5, 2015 Meanwhile, Bagares argued that executive agreements based on the VFA “would not have one leg to stand on” if the VFA were abolished. – with the reports of Sofia Tomacruz/Rappler.com The VFA also provides for a mutual or opposing agreement signed on 9 October 1998. This Agreement applies to Philippine personnel who are temporarily sent to the United States.
The agreement contains various procedural safeguards aimed at protecting the right to due process and prohibiting double risks.  [VIII 2-6] The agreement also exempts Philippine personnel from visa formalities and ensures an acceleration of entry and exit operations;  [IV] requires the United States to accept Philippine driver`s licenses;  [V] authorizes Philippine personnel to carry weapons in U.S. military facilities while on duty;  [VI] provides for tax exemptions and import/export exclusions for Philippine personnel;  [X, XI] requires the United States to provide health care to Filipino personnel;  [XIV] and exempts Philippine vehicles, ships and aircraft from landing or port, navigation or overflight taxes, road fees or other charges for the use of U.S. military facilities.  [XV] The United States could also use this moment to try to renegotiate a new and better agreement with the Philippines – one that fulfills President Duterte`s goal of being strong against the United States and an agreement that gives President Trump the opportunity to put his unique stamp on another important agreement, this time a defense agreement. it could move the U.S. forward…