MANILA, Philippines — In exchange for the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the Philippines should get something like $16 billion that Pakistan had received in counterterrorism assistance from the United States from 2001 to 2017, Malacañang said on Monday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippines received only a total of $3.9 billion from the United States in the same period.
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President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said the US government must pay if it wanted to keep the VFA, an agreement signed in 1998 that allows American troops to come to the Philippines for joint military exercises with Filipino troops and humanitarian missions.
He ordered the abrogation of the agreement last year, but suspended the move because of the coronavirus pandemic and “heightened superpower tensions.”
Defense and foreign affairs officials have spoken against the termination of the deal, warning that the country could lose billions of dollars worth of assistance and that it could undermine Philippine defense and security arrangements.
Many critics have said the VFA, which also provides rules for the entry and departure of military personnel and supplies, is just as detrimental. For instance, it abdicates Philippine sovereignty when trying US personnel who commit crimes, they say.
READ MORE: https://aseanews.net/2021/02/16/du30s-extortionist-manila-philippines-duterte-demands-16-billion-for-hosting-us-troops/
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