Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Arroyo agrees to abolish commission on VFA -- Romulo

By Veronica Uy, INQ7.net

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has agreed to abolish the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo told a Senate budget hearing on Wednesday.

“There is a plan to abolish the VFACom and I believe the President has agreed to this,” Romulo told a Senate committee.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago confirmed the plan, saying she was present when Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita was instructed to draft the executive order that would do so.

Santiago suggested the formulation of a mechanism that would continue to monitor the implementation or non-implementation of the VFA once the commission was abolished.

Romulo said he was meeting with Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz this Friday to discuss the matter.

The VFA is the treaty that allows the entry of US military troops into the Philippines and governs the conduct of joint military exercises between the United States and the Philippines.

Last week, the Legislative Oversight Committee on VFA voted to abrogate the treaty after the US rejected the Philippines' request for custody of four US Marines accused of raping a 22-year-old Filipina last November 1.


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