A top official of the u.s. navy on Thursday ruled that a breach of the covenant military with the Philippines would be detrimental to the fight against terrorism, while president Donald Trump had indicated on Wednesday that it was “equal”.
Admiral Philip Davidson, who directs the command to the Indo-Pacific, expressed the hope that Manila would reconsider his decision to break the “Visiting Forces Agreement” (or VFA, the agreement on foreign forces), which provides a legal framework for the presence of american troops in the Philippines and the organization of joint military exercises.
The Philippines has in fact started the countdown six months before the effective termination of the agreement. “So we have a bit of time to carry out diplomatic efforts,” said the admiral Davidson in Sydney. “I hope that we will have a good result.” This decision has been described as “serious” by the United States embassy in the Philippines, but the boss of the white House played down on Wednesday its importance.
For Trump, the end of this agreement, “which will save a lot of money” in the United States
“To be honest, I was never really concerned,” said Mr. Trump, when asked about this difficult issue in an exchange with reporters in the oval Office. “This is really equal, if they want to do it, this is not a problem, it will save a lot of money”, he added.
But the admiral Davidson has estimated that such a fracture would complicate military operations against the islamic organisations in the south of the archipelago. “Our capacity to assist the Philippines in their fight against violent extremism in the South, our capabilities we entraînér and operate within the Philippines and with the filipino armed forces would be jeopardized without this agreement on foreign forces”, he said.
A peace agreement was signed in 2014 with the main group of the rebellion of the muslims in the southern Philippines, the Front Moro islamic liberation (Milf). It has led in the past year on the ballot by referendum of the creation of an autonomous region in the south.
But this process, which began in the 1990s, does not include the islamic organisations -including those who have sworn allegiance to the group islamic State – still very active in the southern Philippines and the Milf fighting alongside government forces, with which he has made a covenant.
The president of the philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, known for its provocations, has often been under threat since his election in 2016 to put an end to the alliance of his country with the United States, for the benefit of Russia or China. He had specifically threatened to terminate the pact military VFA in 2016 — and then again last January, after the cancellation by the United States of a visa to the ex-chief of police Ronald Dela Rosa, today senator.