Philippines ends security pact with US

– Washington says move to have ‘significant’ implications

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ANKARA (AA) – Philippines has officially terminated a security agreement that allows American military planes' and vessels' free entry into the country, local media reported on Wednesday.

Salvador Panelo, Philippines’ presidential spokesman, told reporters that the country officially informed the U.S. that it was terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the two countries, according to daily Manila Times.

Ratified in 1999, the VFA exempts U.S. military personnel from passport and visa regulation when they come for joint exercises and training of troops in the Philippines.

The decision to end the agreement “is a consequence of a series of legislative and executive actions by the U.S. government that bordered on assaulting our sovereignty and disrespecting our judicial system,” said the Philippines presidential spokesman on Tuesday.

Responding to the decision, the U.S. embassy said: “This is a serious step with significant implications for the U.S.-Philippines alliance. We will carefully consider how best to move forward to advance our shared interests.”

According to Panelo, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte believes his country “cannot forever rely on other countries for the state’s defense and should instead strengthen its own resources for our defenses.”

The termination of defense agreement would get effective 180 days after the receipt of the notice of termination from the U.S. government

The U.S.-Philippines alliance began through the Mutual Defense Treaty in 1951.