Philippines extends termination proceedings of VFA

November 11, 2020 - 4:17 PM
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U.S. Marines officer Lt General Lawrence Nicholson (C) and his counterpart from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Lt General Oscar Lactao (L) unfurl the "Balikatan" flag, during the opening ceremony of Philippines and U.S. military joint exercises called Balikatan (Shoulder to Shoulder) at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines May 8, 2017. (Reuters/Erik De Castro/File Photo)

MANILA — The Philippines has suspended for the second time its decision to scrap a two-decade-old Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States, its foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delaying the cancellation by another six months would “enable us to find a more enhanced, mutually beneficial, mutually agreeable, and more effective and lasting arrangement on how to move forward in our mutual defense,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Philippines is a treaty ally of the United States with several military agreements dependent on the VFA. Duterte last year notified Washington he was cancelling the deal, which came amid outrage over a senator and ally being denied a U.S. visa.

RELATED: Duterte U-turns on scrapping of U.S. troop deal

—Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Martin Petty