Duterte delays action on US military pact 

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte wants more time to decide whether to end a military pact with the US on the deployment of troops for war games, according to his top envoy. The visiting forces agreement would remain hanging for six more months, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. said on Monday.   The President made his decision known during a meeting with him and Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel G. Romualdez, the Foreign Affairs chief said in a video message.  “The President conveyed to us his decision to extend the suspension of the abrogation of the visiting forces agreement by another six months,” he said.   Mr. Duterte in February last year said he was ending the military pact after the US Embassy canceled the visa of Senator Ronald M. de la Rosa, his former police chief who led his deadly war on drugs.    He suspended the termination for six months in June 2020, citing heightened tensions in the region and saying it was a distraction to countries’ anti-coronavirus efforts. It was suspended again in December for six more months.   Mr. Romualdez on June 4 said the two countries had spent a lot of time discussing how to improve the military agreement, which many Filipinos think favors the US. He said an improved version of the pact had been finished, but declined to provide details. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas 

Military chief says no civilian casualties in Saturday’s encounter with terrorist group, calls for vigilance in Maguindanao hot zone

THERE were no civilian or military casualties in Saturday’s encounter between government forces and members of an extremist group in a commercial area of Datu Paglas town in Maguindanao, according to the country’s military chief. An estimated 20 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF)  attempted but failed to occupy the town’s public market […]

Wenceslao: Lessons learned

THERE are two things I like regarding recent developments on the issue of community pantries. One is National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon issuing a gag order to Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade and Communications Secretary Lorraine Badoy of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). The other is seeing military personnel bringing […]

Tell it to SunStar: “Protect academic freedom”

(Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana sent University of the Philippines president Danilo L. Concepcion a letter on the government’s decision to revoke the UP-DND Accord, a pact that prohibits military and police authorities to enter the university premises without notification from the school heads. The following is Concepcion’s reply to Lorenzana’s letter sent […]