VFA review not linked to travel advisories

November 7, 2010 1:06 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 6 — There is no connection between the recent travel advisories and the government plan to review the outmoded Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said Saturday.

“There is no connection between the travel advisories on the review of the VFA, the internal review of the VFA,” Valte said during a radio interview on Saturday morning.

In a similar radio interview on Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, also downplayed speculations that the plan to review the VFA was in any way connected to the travel advisories on a possible terrorist attack in the Philippines.

Last Oct. 1, President Benigno S. Aquino III issued Executive Order No. 9 reorganizing the Presidential Commission on the VFA to reassess and get maximum benefits from the bilateral pact which was ratified in 1999.

On Nov. 2, the US State Department warned its nationals of possible terror plots in the country.

The warning came after an attempt to smuggle a bomb destined for the US was foiled by American authorities triggering fears that the al-Qaida group was attempting another terror campaign.

Five other countries have also issued travel advisories to its citizens in the Philippines, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and France.

Valte said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is exhausting diplomatic channels to urge these countries to reconsider the issuance of said travel advisories.

Valte also said the government did not take the matter lightly and had already taken measures to tighten security on public places, airports and seaports.

“Again this is a call for vigilance on the part of our people, vigilance for our safety and those around us,” Valte said. (PNA) RMA/PCOO/rsm


Comments are closed.