What Is The Vfa Agreement

The United States has used the agreement at least twice to keep the accused military under U.S. jurisdiction. [5] On January 18, 2006, the U.S. Military retained custody of four soldiers accused of rape while they were visiting Subic Bay during their trial in a Philippine court. [6] They were detained by U.S. officials at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. This has led to protests from those who believe that the agreement is unilateral, harmful and contrary to the sovereignty of the Philippines. [Citation required] The agreement has been characterized as immunity from criminal prosecution for U.S. military personnel who commit crimes against Filipinos[7] and treatment of Filipinos as second-class citizens in their own country.

[8] [9] As a result of these problems, some members of the Philippine Congress considered ending the VFA in 2006. [10] [11] However, the agreement has not been amended. On February 11, 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte officially announced at the U.S. Embassy in Manila that he was coming to an end to the pact, with the denunciation expected to come into force in 180 days, unless otherwise agreed during that period. In the past, Duterte has shown admiration for both Russian forces and the People`s Liberation Army of China, although the Philippines and China are involved in a dispute in the South China Sea over sovereignty over the Spratly Islands. [15] In June 2020, the Philippine government reversed this decision and announced that it was maintaining the agreement. [16] The U.S. military operates in about 100 countries around the world through the Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA). Similarly, the VFA defines the rules, guidelines and legal status of the U.S. military when operating in the Philippines. The VFA also reaffirms the 1951 Mutual Defence Treaty and the 2014 Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement – agreements that allow the U.S. military to conduct joint exercises and operations in the Philippines.

The end of the VFA would leave the U.S. military in the Philippines, without any legal or operational reputation – and that`s a problem for the Alliance.