Because of VFA, Philippines Cannot Check Visiting US Troops for Swine Flu

News Philippines May 15, 2009 at 1:38 pm

MANILA – The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance) said Wednesday the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) is a “public hazard” because it exempts visiting American troops from health inspection by Philippines authorities, even at a time of high alert against such diseases as the swine flu.

Passed by the Senate and signed by then-President Joseph Estrada in 1999, the VFA grants “extraterritorial and extrajudicial rights” to US servicemen visiting the Philippines. It made possible the Balikatan military exercises, which have been held annually since 2002.

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