Panelo to Trump: You’re welcome

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo replied to US President Trump’s remark on the termination of Visiting Forces Agreement.

Panelo said that the presidential office also viewed Trump’s response as a recognition of the country’s goal to be a self-reliant country which is in line with Duterte’s “independent” foreign policy by avoiding “being parasites to any of the countries”.

“Maybe he (Trump) agrees with the position of the President (Duterte) that it is time that we stand on our own resources and defend our country from enemies of the state by ourselves and not rely on the help of other countries,” he added.

After receiving the notice of VFA termination from Malacañang, Trump thanked the PH government because it “saves a lot of money”.

Panelo likewise saw this as an opportunity because it (US) will give “preferential attention” to the Philippines.

“You must remember that the VFA and other treaties are there precisely because of the global strategic defensive positioning of the United States. You must remember that the perceived enemies of the US are very near this country, hence they need us,” the presidential spox said.

The termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement is expected to take effect 180 days later, and Washington Thursday afternoon said that this will bring serious implications to US-PH alliance.

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