Malacañang on Tuesday clarified that the Framework Agreement between the Philippines and the United State on increased rotational presence in the country is not yet a “done deal.”
“No, it’s not [a done deal],” Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said, citing that both negotiating panels would still have to sit down to discuss the details of the said agreement.
“Which is why they have to sit and talk about the details that have to be agreed upon,” she added.
The Palace official, on the other hand, denied that the said deal with the US is meant to prevent China or other intruders.
“No, it’s really not. Again, it’s been mentioned that we want to build up a minimum credible defense. We understand that when the modalities have been threshed out, it will help towards that,” she said
Asked about fears of increasing tensions in the region, Valte said that, “We have made it very clear on why we are engaging or embarking on this particular initiative.”
“It’s just a matter of agreeing on the modalities and tignan po muna natin on what sort of effect that it will have. While some may have that comment off the bat, we would rather see after the details have been finally threshed out,” she added
The Palace official, meanwhile, emphasized the non-permanence element in the negotiations, stressing that will be done within the parameters of the 1987 Constitution and the Visiting Forces Agreement.
“We have already been explicit that it would be done, again, as mentioned by both officials—by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Secretary of National Defense—that everything will be done under and following the 1987 Constitution; as well as the existing agreements that we have with the United States,” she said
“We’re after a high impact and high value exercises that will benefit both sides,” the Palace official added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE