MANILA, (PNA) – Malacanang on Sunday clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte was just warning when he said he told the United States to prepare for an abrogation of the Visiting Forces of Agreement (VFA).
”It was a warning. It was really something the President said he will void,” Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag stated in an interview with state-owned dzRB.
In his arrival speech from Singapore last Friday night, President Duterte told the US to prepare the revocation of the VFA after what he thought the Philippines had been stricken out of the US aid agency Millennium Challenge Corporation.
”We will wait for the next President’s move and what the advisers can say,” Banaag said.
Banaag said the Palace would also wait for the latest development in the coming days after the Millennium Challenge reportedly deferred a vote on a renewal of the US$ 400 million development assistance package for the Philippines.
President Duterte said if the Philippines will lose US$ 400 million assistance from the Millennium Challenge, China “has the kindest soul” to give the Philippines 50 billion.”
The President said the Philippines can survive “without American money.”
Banaag said the PCO has yet to ask the President if the “50 billion” is in dollar.
”I wish we could ask it right away if it is in dollar or Philippine peso,” she said.
Banaag stated that they will also be confirmed from Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez if there was indeed an offer from China.
”If there was an offer, so there are yet negotiations about the proposal as to whether it will be given without conditions because the President is sensitive about these things if there are conditions or none,” she explained.
by: Jelly F. Musico