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Fort Magsaysay eyed for use by US troops

/ 06:53 PM April 02, 2014

US army soldiers take part in a joint Philippines-US military exercise at the military camp of Fort Magsaysay. AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines– Fort Magsaysay, the Philippines’ largest military camp, is being eyed as one of the facilities that the United States could use for the security deal being negotiated by both countries.

“I think we can make available yung Fort Magsaysay as an area where they can put their [equipment]. They will improve, routinely use, kasi ang nagro-rotate naman ano e yung sundalo e,” Lieutenant General Gregorio Pio Capatang Jr., commander of Northern Luzon Command, told reporters when asked if what military bases could be under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation.

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Fort Magsaysay is located in Nueva Ecija. It houses the Special Operations Command — the Special Forces and Light Reaction Regiment, and the Army’s 7th Infantry Division.

It also previously hosted bilateral trainings for the US-Philippines Balikatan exercises.

“We have the Dingalan Bay which is part of the 7th Division property. It’s a six-kilometer beach frontage that the Fort Magsaysay owns and that can be also an area for naval manuevers,” Catapang said.

An eighth round of negotiations between US and Philippines will be held in early April. There have been speculations that the deal will be signed  during the visit of President Barack Obama late this month.

The agreement will allow the US a wider access to Philippine military bases amid increasing tensions with China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

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