What Is The Philippines-United States Visiting Forces Agreement And Why Does It Matter

The VFA is an agreement to implement the 1951 Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT) in which both countries agree to respond in “unity” to any external armed attack on their territory, armed forces, public vessels and aircraft. Under Section 21, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, the approval of “at least two-thirds” of all members of the Senate is required for an “international treaty or agreement” to be considered “valid and effective.” It is not specified whether the same is necessary to terminate an agreement. Military cooperation between the United States and the Philippines continued under Duterte, despite his skepticism of bilateral relations. Joint activities and U.S. assistance include external defence, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. U.S. and Philippine forces participated in some 281 joint activities in 2019. In May 2019, the Philippine Navy participated in the first joint navigation across the South China Sea with the United States, Japan and India. The two sides are continuing preparations for balikatan 2020, the largest regular joint exercise between the United States and the Philippines, scheduled for May, involving nearly 11,000 U.S., Filipino and Australian troops. The VFA has been the subject of several audits since its ratification. Here are some of the most important issues that made the agreement stand.

CNN Philippines, Revisiting the Jennifer Laude murder case, February 24, 2015 Critical Questions is produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a tax-free private institution that deals with international law and order issues. His research is bipartisan and unprotected by copyright. The CSIS does not take specific political positions. Therefore, all views, views and conclusions expressed in this publication should be interpreted exclusively as the views, views and conclusions of the author. On February 11, 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte officially announced at the U.S. Embassy in Manila that he was coming to an end to the pact, with the denunciation expected to come into force in 180 days, unless otherwise agreed during that period. In the past, Duterte has shown admiration for both Russian forces and the People`s Liberation Army of China, although the Philippines and China are involved in a dispute in the South China Sea over sovereignty over the Spratly Islands. [15] In June 2020, the Philippine government reversed this decision and announced that it was maintaining the agreement.

[16] The Agreement on Enhanced Defence Cooperation (EDCA), signed in April 2014 under then-President Benigno Aquino III, aims to operationalize the VFA. Military activities authorized by the Philippines are also insinuated in the context of the VFA. The executive agreement provides for an increased military turnover of U.S. troops, aircraft and ships in the Philippines and allows them greater access to military bases in the country.