The Philippine Senate ratified the VFA in 1999. To avoid the impression of a permanent deployment of U.S. troops to the Philippines, the Senate emphasized the “visit” and “temporary” status of U.S. forces, in line with their 1991 decision to abolish U.S. bases in the Philippines. As a contract for the execution of the VFA, EDCA authorizes the prepositioning of war materials on approved sites. This includes strengthening the modernization capabilities of the Philippine armed forces. READ: The pH of the military pact with the UNITED States) If the VFA ends, what will happen to other military treaties and agreements with the United States? The Agreement on Enhanced Defence Cooperation (EDCA), signed in April 2014 under then-President Benigno Aquino III, aims to operationalize the VFA. Military activities authorized by the Philippines are also insinuated in the context of the VFA. The executive agreement provides for an increased military turnover of U.S.
troops, aircraft and ships in the Philippines and allows them greater access to military bases in the country. For many American observers, the fact that most of the criminals charged are ultimately charged in a local court and convicted that the system works; for some observers in the host country, it reinforces the perception that the VFA protects the culprits and makes the exceptions more egregious. Meanwhile, Bagares argued that executive agreements based on the VFA “would have no leg to stand on” if the VFA were abolished. – with reports from Sofia Tomacruz/Rappler.com The US military operates in a hundred countries around the world, thanks to the Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA). Similarly, the VFA defines the rules, guidelines and legal status of the U.S. military when operating in the Philippines. The VFA also reaffirms the 1951 Mutual Defence Treaty and the 2014 Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement – agreements that allow the U.S. military to conduct joint exercises and operations in the Philippines. 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. His most recent book is “Asia`s Regional Architecture: Alliances and Institutions in the Pacific Century” (Stanford University Press, 2019).
This raises uncertainty about the future of military cooperation between the Philippines and the United States, an important part of the U.S. security situation in Asia. The Philippines is an ally of the American treaty and the end of the VFA would not change that status. However, many aspects of U.S.-Philippine cooperation, including military exercises and U.S. access to Philippine military facilities, could be made more difficult or impossible without the legal protection of the VFA. This lack of cooperation could hamper U.S. efforts to use the network of U.S. alliances in the region, address tensions in the South China Sea, where the Philippines has long been in conflict with China, and implement counterterrorism measures in the southern Philippines. It could also have implications for humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions throughout the region. 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 move the United States forward.