President Rodrigo Duterte is bent on terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States but is open to letting American troops in the country— at a price.
Speaking at Senator Manny Pacquiao’s birthday party in General Santos City Saturday (Dec. 17), Duterte said US troops can “start packing” their things since he wants the VFA abrogated.
Addressing American soldiers, the President said: “According to SC, the DFA, the VFA is an executive agreement, hindi treaty. So start packing your things. Start packing your things and get out of my country.”
However, he said US troops could return to the Philippines provided they pay the government.
“You want to come back here? You pay us. You want bases here? Pay us. transaction na lang tayo. Pera-pera na lang tayo mabuti pa. Wala namang giyera ngayon, why would I allow you here?” Duterte said.
Earlier in the day, Duterte told the media in Davao City that the US should “prepare for the repeal or abrogation” of the VFA after a US aid agency cut off the grant of financial assistance to the Philippines.
“We are, we are glad that we are freed from proving anything to the United States. We do not need the money. Bye-bye America and work on the protocols that would eventually move you out from the Philippines. You know, tit for tat. If you know this, if you can do this, so do we. It ain’t a one-way traffic,” he said in a press conference after his return from an official visit to Singapore.