For many American observers, the fact that most of the criminals charged are ultimately charged in a local court and convicted that the system works; for some observers in the host country, it reinforces the perception that the VFA protects the culprits and makes the exceptions more egregious. Although Duterte threatened to outsmart U.S. forces in 2016, he clearly benefits from U.S. military assistance in counterterrorism operations. On February 11, 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte officially announced at the U.S. Embassy in Manila that he was coming to an end to the pact, with the denunciation expected to come into force in 180 days, unless otherwise agreed during that period. In the past, Duterte has shown admiration for both Russian forces and the People`s Liberation Army of China, although the Philippines and China are involved in a dispute in the South China Sea over sovereignty over the Spratly Islands.  In June 2020, the Philippine government reversed this decision and announced that it was maintaining the agreement.  “This agreement remains in effect until 180 days from the date on which one party notifies the other party in writing that it wishes to terminate the contract.” Meanwhile, Bagares argued that executive agreements based on the VFA “would have no leg to stand on” if the VFA were abolished. – with reports from Sofia Tomacruz /Rappler.com The Agreement on Enhanced Defence Cooperation (EDCA) signed in 2014 by President Obama and Duterte`s predecessor, Benigno Aquino Jr. allows a rotating presence of US forces, ships and aircraft in the Philippines, as well as increased US access to Philippine military bases. The agreement contributed to the achievement of an important strategic objective of the Department of Defense, which attempted to expand the U.S.
presence beyond major bases in Japan and South Korea. A new implementation would be difficult without the VFA. According to the text of the diplomatic note, the six-month waiver “may be extended by the Philippines for a further six months.” At the end of this period, Manila, unless further action is taken, would return to its original plan to denounce the agreement, which was first announced on 11 February 2020. The agreement contains various procedural safeguards to protect due process rights and prohibit dual threats.  [VIII 2-6] The agreement also exempts Filipino personnel from visa formalities and ensures expedited entry and exit;  [IV] requires the United States to accept Philippine driver`s licenses;  [V] authorizes Philippine personnel to carry weapons to U.S. military facilities during deployment;  [VI] provides for exemptions and import/export duties for Filipino personnel;  [X, XI] requires the United States to provide medical care to Filipino personnel;  [XIV] and exempts Philippine vehicles, ships and aircraft from landing or port charges, shipping or overflight charges, road tolls or any other charge for the use of U.S. military installations.  [XV] The Agreement on Enhanced Defence Cooperation (EDCA), signed in April 2014 under then-President Benigno Aquino III, aims to operationalize the VFA. Military activities authorized by the Philippines are also insinuated in the context of the VFA.