PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte wants more time to decide whether to end a military pact with the US on the deployment of troops for war games, according to his top envoy.
The visiting forces agreement would remain hanging for six more months, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. said on Monday.
The President made his decision known during a meeting with him and Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel G. Romualdez, the Foreign Affairs chief said in a video message.
“The President conveyed to us his decision to extend the suspension of the abrogation of the visiting forces agreement by another six months,” he said.
Mr. Duterte in February last year said he was ending the military pact after the US Embassy canceled the visa of Senator Ronald M. de la Rosa, his former police chief who led his deadly war on drugs.
He suspended the termination for six months in June 2020, citing heightened tensions in the region and saying it was a distraction to countries’ anti-coronavirus efforts. It was suspended again in December for six more months.
Mr. Romualdez on June 4 said the two countries had spent a lot of time discussing how to improve the military agreement, which many Filipinos think favors the US. He said an improved version of the pact had been finished, but declined to provide details. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas