• Malacañang: No deadline for signing of U.S. troops IRP

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    There is no deadline for the signing of the U.S. troops increased rotational presence (IRP) agreement, Malacanang maintained Saturday.

    Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte raised the issue to dispel speculations that the government was rushing the agreement signing in time for U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the Philippines this month.

    “There is no deadline, because the instruction of (President Benigno S. Aquino III) is to make sure that everything is laid out well and nothing would be left out,” Valte said in Filipino over state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

    Valte said that according to Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino the draft provisions and the key points will be submitted for internal review for the Philippine side. Consultations will meanwhile, continue.

    “This will have to be presented to the President before the next step, we will wait for that,” Valte said.

    The Malacanang official also said that the panel is cognizant in making sure the agreement conforms to the concerns raised by President Aquino.

    She said the agreement, according to the President, should conform with the 1987 Constitution and is under the framework of the existing Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

    Meanwhile, she shrugged off speculations that the U.S. troops IRP was an action to step up to China’s aggressive actions towards claims to parts of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

    Valte said that the significance of the agreement was to “look what it can do to help our country as well as the United States.”

    “We tend to look at this in a holistic manner and not in view of particular issues,” she said saying that the goal was to increase strategic partnership with the United States. (PNA)

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