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Expert says US forces to remain in Philippines even with VFA gone

The presence of the US forces in the Philippines will continue even without the Visiting Forces Agreement, a political science and national defense expert said on Wednesday.

Retired Professor Clarita Carlos, a former president of the National Defense College of the Philippines, said what the Philippine government needed to review was the Mutual Defense Agreement between the Philippines and the US.

"They will still be here... Napakaraming agreements that will cover maritime piracies, small arms smuggling, counter-terrorism, and you don't need the VFA to continue those activities," Carlos said.

"Ang mawawala lang, 'yung legal framework ng Mutual Defense Treaty," she added.

Carlos said the Philippine government must shift gears and review the MDT itself if its purpose was to redefine its relationship with the US.

"Dapat ang i-review mo 'yung mother document, 'yung MDT. Huwag mong i-review 'yung sumusuporta lang doon sa treaty," Carlos said.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday sent the notice of termination of the VFA to the US via its embassy in Manila.

"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.

The US Embassy in a statement said the Philippines' move to terminate the VFA was "a serious step with significant implications." —NB, GMA News