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What Is Visiting Forces Agreement Philippines

By Zach Arnold | December 20, 2020

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Military cooperation between the United States and the Philippines continued under Duterte, despite his skepticism of bilateral relations. Joint activities and U.S. assistance include external defence, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. U.S. and Philippine forces participated in some 281 joint activities in 2019. In May 2019, the Philippine Navy participated in the first joint navigation across the South China Sea with the United States, Japan and India. The two sides are continuing preparations for balikatan 2020, the largest regular joint exercise between the United States and the Philippines, scheduled for May, involving nearly 11,000 U.S., Filipino and Australian troops. Duterte`s cabinet also appear to have serious reservations about his VFA decision. They tried to discuss their concerns with him cautiously, but they understood that they probably will not change their minds. In order to make their views more attractive, they probably tried to emphasize the importance of the VFA for maintaining assistance to U.S. special forces in the fight against terrorist operations in the southern Philippines against the jihadists. The political issue of the VFA is complicated by the fact that many host countries have mixed feelings about foreign troops on their soil and that the VFA`s renegotiation requests are often linked to requests for the total withdrawal of foreign troops.

Questions of different national practices may arise. Many American observers believe, for example, that the host country`s judicial systems provide much lower protection for defendants than the host country`s courts may be under pressure from the public to commit guilt; In addition, U.S. service members who are invited to send shipments abroad should not be forced to waive their rights under the U.S. Bulletin of Rights. On the other hand, observers of the host country who do not have a local equivalent of the law of rights often feel that these are irrelevant excuses for seeking special treatment and resemble the extraterritorial agreements demanded by Western countries during the colonial period. A host country where such sentiment is widespread, South Korea, itself has forces in Kyrgyzstan and has negotiated a SOFA that grants its members full immunity from prosecution by the Kyrgyz authorities for any crime[1] something that goes far beyond the privileges that many South Koreans, on the couch of their nation , have challenged the United States. What will happen to other military treaties and agreements with the United States? Meanwhile, Bagares argued that executive agreements based on the VFA “would have no leg to stand on” if the VFA were abolished.

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