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DOJ-led unit to assess VFA termination

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said the Presidential Commission on Visiting Forces will submit its report to President Rodrigo Duterte this week on the impact of terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the United States.

This came after the PCVA held a top-level meeting on the impact of the VFA termination on Monday.

Guevarra declined to provide details of the report, but he earlier hinted that the impact assessment would cover the security, economic and environmental effects of a possible termination.

President Duterte last week ordered the Department of Justice to study the pros and cons of ending the Philippines-US VFA, an expansion of the assessment that had originally dealt with only the “proper procedure” for the termination.

The President had threatened to terminate the agreement if the US would not rectify the cancellation of the visa of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, his former police chief and the former top implementer of his administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

The 1999 VFA governs the conduct of visiting US personnel holding military exercises in the Philippines and specifies how the two countries will determine jurisdiction over American soldiers accused of committing on Philippine soil.

Duterte had warned he was moving to void the VFA as early as 2016 after a US agency deferred a vote on continuing its assistance to the Philippines over concerns on “rule of law and civil liberties.”

Topics: Menardo Guevarra , Presidential Commission on Visiting Forces , Rodrigo Duterte
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