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Locsin sends notice of VFA termination to US gov’t

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has signed and delivered the notice of termination of the Philippines' Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States.

Locsin made the confirmation on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, adding that the US government has already received the notice.

"The Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the United States has received the notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement," the Foreign Affairs chief tweeted.

"As a diplomatic courtesy there will be no further factual announcements following this self-explanatory development," he added.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay earlier announced on Twitter that Locsin had already signed the notice. 

"On the order of the President, thru Execitive Secretary Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Locsin signed today the notice of termination of the VFA, which will be delivered to the US Embassy in Manila fortwith," he said.

In Malacañang, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the relationship between the Philippines and US remained warm despite the decision to pull Manila out of the VFA.

“It remains warm, hopefully it could be warmer,” Panelo told reporters.

“Why? Because I’ve been noticing that who have been critical of the US government policies have been given the preferential attention of the US government.

“‘Pag nababanatan sila, sinusuyo nila; iyong mga kakampi nila eh, inaapi nila. Parang ganoon ang dating eh,” he said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the Philippines and the United States will be useless once the VFA is terminated after 180 days.

The MDT was signed by the Philippines and US in 1951 where both parties agreed that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on either the Philippines or the US would be dangerous and that they would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, for his part, stressed that it is President Rodrigo Duterte who will be ultimately responsible for his actions.

“Whether or not we are ready for the impact is for the President to consider in the course of his decision making. This is a political decision and he is political leader, and he will hold himself responsible to the people,” Drilon said in a separate interview. —MDM/KG/NB, GMA News