Duterte kills US military deal

World | REUTERS 12 Feb 2020

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday told the United States he was scrapping a visiting forces agreement - following through on threats to downgrade the alliance.

Duterte, who has made no secret of disliking Americans, said the Philippines will not rely on any other country.

Military ties between the Philippines and its former colonial ruler go back to the 1950s and are governed by a mutual defense treaty, which remains intact along with a defense cooperation deal.

Duterte made the decision after the commander of his war on drugs, former police chief Ronald dela Rosa, said his US visa had been rescinded over an issue related to the detention of a senator and top critic of Duterte.

The VFA, signed in 1998, accords legal status to US troops in the country for humanitarian assistance and exercises.

It is the first time Duterte has scrapped an agreement with Washington, having throughout his more than three years in office denounced the United States for treating the Philippines "like a dog on a leash."

Duterte has also accused US forces of clandestine activities, and in a rambling speech on Monday he claimed American nuclear weapons were stored in his country.

Duterte's move follows a Senate hearing last week when his defense and foreign secretaries backed the VFA.

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