The United States could also take the opportunity to renegotiate a new, better-value agreement with the Philippines – one that meets President Duterte`s goal of being strong against the United States and the other that gives President Trump the opportunity to mark another important deal, this time a defense deal, with its unique footprint that could advance U.S. interests for years. But the VFA, the last iteration of which was originally ratified in 1999, plays a fundamental role in normal military activities within the Alliance`s boundaries. Without VFA, the temporary presence of U.S. forces in the Philippines and, importantly, the implementation of the Defence Cooperation Act 2014 (EDCA) would be impossible. On February 11, 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte officially announced at the U.S. Embassy in Manila that he was coming to an end to the pact, with the denunciation expected to come into force in 180 days, unless otherwise agreed during that period. In the past, Duterte has shown admiration for both Russian forces and the People`s Liberation Army of China, although the Philippines and China are involved in a dispute in the South China Sea over sovereignty over the Spratly Islands.  In June 2020, the Philippine government reversed this decision and announced that it was maintaining the agreement.  The United States has used the agreement at least twice to keep the accused military under U.S. jurisdiction.  On January 18, 2006, the U.S.
Military retained custody of four soldiers accused of rape while they were visiting Subic Bay during their trial in a Philippine court.  They were detained by U.S. officials at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. This has led to protests from those who believe that the agreement is unilateral, harmful and contrary to the sovereignty of the Philippines. [Citation required] The agreement has been characterized as immunity from criminal prosecution for U.S. military personnel who commit crimes against Filipinos and treatment of Filipinos as second-class citizens in their own country.   As a result of these problems, some members of the Philippine Congress considered ending the VFA in 2006.   However, the agreement has not been amended.
Manila and Washington have 180 days to renegotiate the VFA before it expires. Repeated criticism of the VFA by civil society groups could provide Duterte and its allies with some political cover to adapt the terms of the agreement. However, the Philippine president will find it difficult to eliminate the VFA for the long term due to domestic opposition and broader strategic concerns. A5: The termination procedure within the VFA provides for a 180-day delay between the announcement of the intention to withdraw until the official date of the revocation. In the absence of a new agreement, U.S. forces currently operating in the Philippines must leave or find a new legal status. These include U.S. forces helping the AFP fight against Islamic State-linked insurgents on the southern islands. As the AFP and the Philippine government make progress against the insurgents, U.S. support is stepping up and accelerating progress for the Philippines, while slowing or even reversing the spread of Islamic State in Southeast Asia.
Is Duterte really going to finish the VFA? According to most reports, he remains seriously in his desire to eliminate the agreement. But here`s why the VFA and the AMéricano-Philippine alliance could survive the Duterte firestorm. Andrew Yeo is an associate professor of politics at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and is currently a fulbright Visiting Research Fellow at the University of the Philippines Diliman.