Hindi na umano ikinagulat ng Malacañang ang naging pahayag ni US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper na ang pagkalas ng Pilipinas sa Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) ay hakbang sa maling direksyon.

Sinabi ni Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, inaasahan na nila ang nasabing reaksyon mula sa US government dahil pabor sa kanila ang VFA at ang pag-terminate rito ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ay makakaapekto sa global strategic defensive positioning ng US.

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Ayon kay Sec. Panelo, para sa kanila, ang VFA termination ay hakbang sa tamang direksyon na dapat matagal ng ginawa.
Iginiit ni Sec. Panelo na panahon na para palakasin ang ating defense capabilities na hindi nakadepende at umaasa sa ibang bansa para na rin sa proteksyon ng kalayaan at soberenya ng bansa.

“The Secretary of Defense of the United States of America, Mr. Mark Esper, has been quoted as saying that the withdrawal of the Philippines from the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with their country is “a move in the wrong direction,” ani Sec. Panelo.

“We expect no less for such a reaction from the US government following its receipt of the notice of termination of the VFA. Such a commentary is expected given that the VFA favors the US and its abrogation affects its global strategic defensive positioning. From our point of view however, the decision to terminate the VFA is a move in the right direction that should have been done a long time ago.”