MANILA, Philippines — The military exercises between the Philippines and the United States scheduled for the following months will still push through despite the Duterte government’s move to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday.
In a statement, Lorenzana said the training between Filipino and American soldiers will still proceed as scheduled within the 180 days that the VFA remains in force.
“With the formal serving of the notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement, this year’s planned military exercises with the Americans shall proceed as scheduled within the 180 days that the VFA remains in force,” he said.
The Defense chief, however, said American troops may opt to discontinue the exercises before the 180 days are up.
Once the VFA’s termination is final, Lorenzana said Filipino troops will stop conducting military drills with their American counterparts.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday confirmed that they have received the notice of termination sent by the Philippine government. — RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)
The Philippine Army together with the Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. (BAVI) has set livelihood and job opportunities for retiring soldiers.
During their meeting on February 6, BAVI and the Philippine Navy’s Army Personnel Management Center (APMC) discussed job vacancies for retiring soldiers in their companies which include safety officers and farm managers.
“They are willing to hire the qualified retirees and retired soldiers provided they pass the hiring process,” according to the Philippine Army in a statement.
“BAVI also mentioned about poultry contract growing as small scale business opportunity for the soldiers who are about to bow out from the service,” the statement further reads.
APMC Director Col. Eliglen F. Villaflor said even retired soldiers can be great assets to any organization.
“Aside from the training, military schooling and other skills our army personnel acquired while in the service, our army soldiers are also very disciplined, loyal, and dedicated to the duty or task given to them,” he said.—AAC
The Philippine Army provided assistance to residents in areas of Batangas and Cavite that are affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.
The Philippine Army Headquarters sent around 20 military vehicles and 120 personnel to assist residents while units of the 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division and the 202nd Infantry “Unifier” Brigade are placed on red alert.
Commanding General Philippine Army Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay said medical teams, signal capabilities, and ready reserve units from the National Capital Region (NCR) are all on standby for further deployment.
“We assure the people that the Philippine Army is fully able and ready to help in this time of need. Along with our partner agencies, we will do everything we can and employ our capabilities to bring the affected families to safety,” he said.—AAC (with reports Lea Ylagan)
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