CDO council to meet on use of Lumbia Airport as US base under EDCA
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The opposition-dominated city council will be convening soon to discuss its unified position on the use of the former Lumbia Airport as a base for US forces, according to a councilor.
Councilor Teodulfo Lao said they would discuss whether the use of the Lumbia Airport under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) would be beneficial or detrimental to the people of the city.
He said personally, he didn’t understand why the city was included in areas offered to American forces when it was not even strategic, in so far as the defense of the West Philippine Sea was concerned.
“They said it was in preparation for the security and stability of the West Philippine Sea but we are far from there,” Lao said.
He said allowing the Americans to use Lumbia Airport could have negative effects on society such as the rise in prostitution.
But on the other hand, he said the presence of American soldiers in the city might have offer the advantage of further enhancing the confidence of investors in the city.
Councilo Lourdes Darimbang said this early, she was making known that she was opposed to the plan because the presence of American forces here could even invite security threats to the city.
Earlier, Mayor Oscar Moreno said he saw no problem with the use by US forces of the Lumbia Airport, now the home of the Philippine Air Force’s 15th Strike Wing.
He said the long-term benefits of allowing the American troops to use the old airport should be considered.
Major General Oscar Lactao, commanding general of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4th ID), sided with Moreno by saying that aside from the economic gain, the presence of US forces in the city would also enhance security.
If the country and its territorial waters were secured, more economic activities would happen, as foreign ships making port calls – to refuel, to buy provisions and even buy local souvenirs – would increase, Lactao said.
However, the League of Filipino Students (LFS) in Northern Mindanao warned that the presence of American forces could lead to an increase in the abuse of, and violence against Filipinos.
“The facts remain that the presence of US military bases in the country brings along cases of human rights violations,” LFS said in a statement. SFM
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