The VFA is a 1998 agreement between Manila and Washington on the protocol for the U.S. military in the country. Controversial provisions include the lax visa and passport policy for U.S. troops and the power of the U.S. government to retain jurisdiction over the military if they ever commit crimes on the ground. The Philippines-U.S. Visiting Agreement, sometimes the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement, is a bilateral agreement between the Philippines and the United States, which consists of two separate documents. The first of these documents is commonly referred to as “VFA” or “VFA-1″ and the second is referred to as “VFA-2” or “counterparty agreement.”  A Visiting Forces Agreement is a version of an agreement on the status of the armed forces that applies only to troops temporarily stationed in a country. The agreements entered into force on 27 May 1999, after ratification by the Philippine Senate.    The U.S.
government considers these documents to be executive agreements that do not require the approval of the U.S. Senate.   On February 11, 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte formally announced at the U.S. Embassy in Manila that he was coming to an end to the pact, with the denunciation expected to come into force in 180 days, unless otherwise agreed during that period. In the past, Duterte has shown admiration for both Russian forces and the People`s Liberation Army of China, although the Philippines and China are involved in a dispute in the South China Sea over sovereignty over the Spratly Islands.  In June 2020, the Philippine government reversed this decision and announced that it was maintaining the agreement.  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. The main effect of the agreement is to require the U.S.
government to notify Philippine authorities when it becomes aware of the arrest, arrest or detention of Filipino personnel visiting the United States.