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Gov’t suspension of VFA termination sound — lawmaker

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PHILSTAR

The Philippine government’s decision to extend the suspension of a military pact with the US on the deployment of troops for war games was “sound and strategic” considering the outcome of the US elections, a congressman said on Friday.

Muntinlupa Rep. Rufino B. Biazon said the move would give time for the US administration “to settle in and possibly pursue talks with the Philippines on issues concerning the visiting forces agreement (VFA).”

“The impending change in administration in the US offers the Philippines an opportunity to engage the new administration and discuss concerns pertaining to the Philippine-US relationship and come to a refresh or reboot of security arrangements in the region,” he said in a statement.

The extension of the suspension of the VFA termination showed that the Philippines was not abandoning its long-standing strategic alliance with its former colonizer, Mr. Biazon said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. this week said the suspension had been extended “to find a more enhanced, mutually beneficial, mutually agreeable, and more effective and lasting arrangement.”

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“President-elect Joe Biden mentioned his desire to reinforce and strengthen alliances with Australia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea to maintain a secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region when he took part in separate congratulatory calls from the leaders of the three nations,” he said.

The Philippine government extended the suspension of the VFA abrogation for six more months.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte in February said he was ending the military pact after the US Embassy canceled the visa of Senator Ronaldo O. Dela Rosa, his former police chief who led his deadly war on drugs. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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