Galvez says Edca is just for deterrence, not preparation for war
MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Thursday said that the goal of bilateral efforts such as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) is “to build deterrence, and is not for engaging in war or interfering in the domestic affairs of other nations.”
“Our projects under Edca and our other defense partnerships are not intended for aggression,” Galvez said in a statement.
“We are not preparing for war, rather we are aiming to develop our defense capabilities against eventualities and threats to our security,” he added.
Galvez’s remarks came as some lawmakers and local government executives recently expressed misgivings over the country’s agreement with the United States for more Edca sites.
On Wednesday, Senator Imee Marcos questioned Galvez on the locations of agreed Edca sites, asking what is the country’s fight with Taiwan.
Last month, Manila and Washington agreed to four new additional Edca sites in the country. The new sites – located in Cagayan, Palawan, Zambales, and Isabela – face Taiwan and China.
The Defense chief said he understands the reservations of the government officials about the new Edca sites.
“However, we must consider the volatile situation in which we operate and not view our country in isolation,” Galvez stressed.
“The Philippines straddles a crucial location in the Pacific, and we have seaboards to the north, south, east and west. All of these must be monitored and protected,” he added.
Galvez also pointed out that the Edca is part of the country’s Mutual Defense Treaty’s (MDT) commitments.
“The MDT is founded on the principle of peace and promotion of regional stability. These underpin our activities and projects under Edca,” he said.
“As a nation, we renounce war as a foreign policy. However, we are committed to exhaust all available means and the resources available to us to defend our national interests,” he added.
Signed by two parties on August 30, 1951, the MDT states that both countries would support each other if an external party attacks either the Philippines or the United States.