Statement: On the Suspension of the Pending Termination of the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement


Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. delivers his statement on the suspension of the pending termination of the Philippines-United States Visiting Forces Agreement, on 3 June 2020 at the DFA Building, Pasay City. This comes after Secretary Locsin sent a diplomatic note dated 1 June 2020 to the U.S. Embassy in Manila informing them of the said suspension. (Photo by Nilo K. Palaya)

03 June 2020 — We are pleased to announce that in light of recent developments, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte instructed me to inform via diplomatic note the Ambassador of the United States that he has decided to suspend the pending termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement which has several months more to run as stipulated therein. We look forward to continuing our strong military partnership with the United States even as we continue to reach out to our regional allies in building a common defense towards enduring stability and peace and continuing economic progress and prosperity in our part of the world.

I will answer only one question which I will myself ask: Why? Why did he change his mind. A man who does not change his mind cannot change anything. And he ran on the slogan: Change is coming.

But in the vast and swiftly changing circumstances of the world in a time of pandemic and heightened superpower tensions a world leader must be quick in mind and fast on his feet for the safety of our nation and the peace of the world. Let me assure you that this action alarms no country in Asia and the rest of the world. On the contrary it greatly reassures everyone. Everyone free to speculate about what is clear and true on its face. But the reckless and bad intentioned may undo — though I doubt they have the credibility — the good we all — women and men of peace and goodwill — seek. Thank you. ***