President Rodrigo Duterte has reorganized the commission monitoring the movement of visiting foreign military forces in the country, transferring its chairmanship to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Under Executive Order 97, the Presidential Commission on Visiting Forces (PCVF) is now chaired by the Foreign Affairs Secretary, but with oversight from the Office of the President.
The commission was previously led by the Office of the President with the Executive Secretary as chairman.
PCVF is the lead inter-agency mechanism that provides policy coordination and advice, guidance, and assessment to ensure that all Status of Forces Agreements serve the national interest.
The new EO also mandates the President to appoint an executive director upon the recommendation of the DFA and the Department of National Defense, who will be mandated to report to the commission’s chairman.
The executive director must be a senior government official with the rank of at least an assistant secretary.
The National Security Adviser and a representative from the Office of the President were also added as members of the commission under the EO.
Other members of the commission were the secretaries of National Defense, Justice, Social Welfare and Interior and Local Government, Presidential Commission on Visiting Forces Agreement executive director, and a representative from the private sector.
The President said there is a need to “further ensure an effective integration of its functions” with the government’s independent foreign policy.