Press Release
November 23, 2010

Opening Statement by Senator Loren Legarda
Chair, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Co - Chair, LOVFA
LOVFA Hearing, Nov 23, 2010

An issue of great significance lies before the Committee -- the issue of whether our continued adherence to the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US remains in the national interest.

This issue has brought divergent views from all sides, and resolving it would certainly require that the Committee receives accurate information and engages in intelligent deliberation.

The Philippines has been a strategic partner to the United States since the Second World War. The steady ties between the two countries gave way to the signing of a military bases agreement in 1947. Further to this, we agreed to enter into a Visiting Forces Agreement with the US on February 10, 1998 after two years of negotiations.

The Senate concurred in the ratification, after much debate, aiming to promote defense cooperation between the Philippines and the US and thus enhance the tactical, strategic and technological capabilities of our armed forces.

To provide us an update of the progress of the RP-US exercises under the VFA from the time of its entry into force, we have invited to join us the Presidential Commission on the VFA.

Thank you.

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