The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the United States and the Philippines, signed in 2014 by President Obama and Duterte`s predecessor, Benigno Aquino Jr. allows for an increased rotating presence of U.S. forces, ships and aircraft in the Philippines, as well as increased U.S. 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. 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 In January 2020, the United States cancelled Senator de la Rosa`s visa for links to human rights violations and again asked Duterte to say that he would “finish” the VFA within a month if the United States did not repair what it had done.
Paradoxically, the fatal blow to the VFA could come from Washington itself rather than from Manila. Asked about Duterte`s denunciation of the agreement, Trump said, “I don`t mind them wanting to do it. It will save a lot of money. … My opinions are different from the others. Trump`s statement underscores his general lack of esteem for international agreements and alliances in favor of his “America First” policy. However, the two leaders spoke on 19 April and it was not known whether the VFA was running. Whatever happens, the fate of the VFA will determine the tone of the Alliance at least for the remainder of Duterte`s mandate until 2022, if not beyond. “This agreement remains in effect until the expiry of 180 days from the date on which one party notifies the other party in writing its wish to terminate the contract.” The broader context is that President Duterte has tried to create a greater distance between the Philippines and the United States – what he calls an “independent foreign policy.” Among the various elements of this approach are contact with Russia for closer relations and potential arms sales, as well as efforts to strengthen economic and diplomatic relations with China, even as the Philippines continues to address (with diminishing force) China`s intrusion into its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea. “It is indeed the right of the Philippine government to do so if it finds that the agreement is no longer in our national interest,” Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana said on 24 January. The United States has used the agreement at least twice to keep the accused military under U.S.
jurisdiction.  On January 18, 2006, the U.S. Military retained custody of four soldiers accused of rape while they were visiting Subic Bay during their trial in a Philippine court.  They were detained by U.S. officials at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. This has led to protests from those who believe that the agreement is unilateral, harmful and contrary to the sovereignty of the Philippines. [Citation required] The agreement has been characterized as immunity from criminal prosecution for U.S. military personnel who commit crimes against Filipinos and treatment of Filipinos as second-class citizens in their own country.   As a result of these problems, some members of the Philippine Congress considered ending the VFA in 2006.
  However, the agreement has not been amended. In many host countries, the VFA can become an important political issue as a result of crimes allegedly committed by members of the visitation service.