US-Philippines joint drill to take place in May as scheduled
A joint military exercise between the Philippines and the US will push through as scheduled, despite the former’s decision to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on March 4.
Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo (Source: philstar.com)
Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said that the annual “Balikatan” (shoulder-to-shoulder) will set in May.
An advance contingent from the US will arrive in the Philippines in April to prepare equipment, supplies and medical requirements, Arevalo said.
According to him, the drill will take place within the 180-day period allowed before the VFA abrogation formally takes effect.
The Philippines and the US signed the VFA in 1998, allowing joint Philippine-US military operations. The Philippine Senate ratified the agreement in 1999, seven years after the closure of the last US base on the Philippine territory.
On February 11, 2020, the Southeast Asian nation officially notified the US about the termination of the agreement.
According to the agreement, the termination will officially take effect after 180 days – the time needed for relevant negotiations of the two sides./.VNA
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