''Good possibility'' donated COVID-19 vaccines a factor Duterte did not terminate VFA: Roque
Malacañang on Monday said there is a "good possibility" that the donated COVID-19 vaccines of the United States is one of the factors why President Rodrigo Duterte did not push through in terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
In a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said "there's a good possibility that was part of the equation".
"Maybe the totality of the events recently, and a thorough assessment of what constitutes the national interest prompted him to withdraw his earlier termination," he said.
Roque said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana mentioned there was an addendum of sorts "but the decision was made without the signing of any addendum".
The US government will donate more than three million Moderna vaccines to the Philippines.
Last Friday, Duterte decided to recall the abrogation of the VFA after meeting with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
“PRRD’s decision to recall the abrogation of VFA is based on upholding Philippine strategic core interests, the clear definition of PH-US alliance as one between sovereign equals, and clarity of US position on its obligations and commitments under MDT (Mutual Defense Treaty),” Roque said.
He said despite the decision, the country will continue to engage other countries for partnerships that work based on the core national interests.
He also assured that there are no bargain agreements in exchange for the restoration of VFA. Ella Dionisio/DMS