ADRi Forum: “Post-VFA: PH-US Alliance Quo Vadis?”

In 1998, the Philippines (PH) and the United States (US) heralded a new chapter in its long-standing alliance with the signing of the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). This agreement established necessary mechanisms for military exercises and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) efforts in the Philippines. Moreover, it offers the strategic advantage of knowledge-sharing in the field of defense and security through training, intelligence and counter-terrorism measures among many. The VFA has been the keystone defense partnership between the Philippines and the US and acts as a deterrent to would-be aggressors. However, with the decision of President Duterte to terminate the VFA, other defense agreements with the US would be put into question; particularly, the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the Enhanced Cooperation Agreement.

With these developments and shifts regarding the Visiting Forces Agreement and its implications to our national interest and security, the forum is aimed to shed light on the impact of the administration’s policy recalibration and the future of the US-PHL alliance. The forum will be composed of four segments. The first segment titled, “An Assessment of the US-PH Alliance” will anchor its discussion on the current state of US-PHL strategic partnerships. The second segment will be “The Need for the VFA: From Before to Today” and will talk about the historical and contextual narrative of the defense agreement. The third segment is titled, “Implications of Existing Defense Treaties and Agreements” and will anchor its discussion on the importance of the current defense agreements. Finally, rounding the event will be the fourth panel titled, Expanding the PH Defense Network Beyond Alliances explores the next dimension of defense agreements that goes beyond established networks.

With this, the Stratbase ADRi held an exclusive event, “Post-VFA: PH-US Alliance Quo Vadis?”, on 28 February 2020, Friday, in Makati City.

Speaker Lineup

Opening Remarks
Prof. Dindo C. Manhit
Stratbase ADR Institute

“The Need for the VFA: From Before to Today”
Sec. Orlando S. Mercado
Former Secretary
Department of National Defense

“Post-Termination: Implications to Existing Defense Treaties and Agreements”
Justice Antonio T. Carpio
Former Chief Justice
Supreme Court of the Philippines

“From Maintaining Historical Alliances to Fostering Security Partnerships”
Dr. Renato C. De Castro
Trustee and Program Convenor
Stratbase ADR Institute

“Duterte’s Independent Foreign Policy: PH in the Lens of the US-China Competition”
Richard J. Heydarian
Non-Resident Fellow
Stratbase ADR Institute

“Post-VFA Assessment of the US-PH Alliance”
Amb. Jose Manuel “Babe” G. Romualdez
Ambassador of the Philippines to the US

Closing Remarks
Ambassador Albert F. Del Rosario
Stratbase ADR Institute

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