Galvez hopes US would consider more Edca projects
PAMPANGA, Philippines — Defense chief Carlito Galvez Jr. said here Monday that he hopes the United States would consider more Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) projects as the agreement goes full swing.
“We hope that the United States of America would consider more Edca projects,” Galvez said during his speech in Basa Air Base in Floridablanca town, where a groundbreaking ceremony of runway rehabilitation occurred as part of the Edca project.
Galvez made the call as he noted that the US provided more than $83 million or P4.56 billion for Edca sites as of March 2023.
Also, 23 percent of the 21 bilaterally approved projects have already been completed, according to the official.
It can be recalled that the Philippines have agreed to four new additional Edca sites in the country.
Military officials have already previously identified Zambales, Cagayan, Isabela, and Palawan as possible sites. The sites are notable since it faces Taiwan (Zambales, Cagayan, and Isabela) and the South China Sea (Palawan).
Currently, there are five pre-determined Edca sites located at Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, which is closest to the Kalayaan Group of Islands; Basa Air Base in Pampanga, the home of the Philippine Air Force’s fighter planes; and Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, the country’s largest military camp and a frequent location of Philippine-US military exercises.
The other two areas are Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu and Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro City.
“After almost eight years of delays and legal challenges, the Edca implementation is now in full swing,” Galvez also said.
In 2016, the Supreme Court upheld the legality of the Edca between two countries as the high court pointed to the remains consistent with existing laws.
READ: Supreme Court upholds legality of Edca
Edca, however, remains controversial as some local executives and lawmakers expressed their misgivings with the agreement.
The Edca was signed by two countries in 2014. Galvez also said Edca is part of the country’s Mutual Defense Treaty.
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.
READ: Galvez says Edca is just for deterrence, not preparation for war
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