De Lima: Edca additional sites a ‘necessity’
MANILA, Philippines — Former Senator Leila de Lima believes that putting up more sites where US troops will have access under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) is a “necessity.”
This as China continues its aggressions against the Philippines at the West Philippine Sea and the challenges of climate change, she said.
“I believe that, given China’s growing aggression & the worsening challenges of climate change, EDCA & its expansion via putting up of additional EDCA sites are a necessity,” De Lima said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
“Indeed, we need all the help in improving our disaster response & relief operations during calamities & disasters,” she added.
The former senator, who remains detained, also reasoned that projecting strength and alliances with “democratic rule-of-law-respecting nations” are an “effective deterrence” against the hostilty of China over the Philippines.
“Strengthening our alliance with the US and partnering with other democratic republics in the region is an unmistakable demonstration of our sovereignty and resistance to China’s creeping invasion of our possessions in the West Philippine Sea,” De Lima, who is a former Justice Secretary, said.
Malacañang earlier identified four new locations “suitable and mutually beneficial” as additional sites for EDCA.
- Naval Base Camilo Osias in Sta Ana, Cagayan
- Lal-lo Airport in Lal-lo, Cagayan
- Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela
- Balabac Island in Palawan
The Presidential Communications Office said these sites have already been inspected and assessed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
EDCA, which was signed in 2014, allows US military personnel to train with local troops as well as build and operate facilities inside Philippine military bases.
The agreement, however, does not allow the US to establish permanent military bases in the Philippines.
EDCA, which complements the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the two countries, also allows the US to preposition supplies and equipment in the country.