PH, US vow to accelerate Edca implementation
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and the United States vowed to accelerate the implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) projects.
Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and US counterpart Lloyd J. Austin III made the commitment during their meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Asean Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus.
Teodoro and Austin also noted the progress of Edca projects in the country, including the completion of the newly repaired runway at Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga, which is both countries’ biggest-ever bilateral military project to date.
“The Secretaries highlighted the recent progress the two countries have made to modernize the alliance, enhance interoperability, and address new and emerging challenges,” the joint press statement of Austin and Teodoro said.
“On this note, they welcomed progress in implementing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, including the recent completion of a $24 million upgrade to the runway at Basa Airbase, and pledged to further accelerate EDCA implementation,” it added.
To date, there are nine identified Edca sites all over the country.
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. approved four new Edca locations in Gamu, Isabela; Lal-lo and Sta. Ana in Cagayan and Balabac, Palawan.
Three of these new sites — those in Cagayan and Isabela — are relatively near Taiwan, a self-ruled island which China regards as a renegade province subject to reunification.
Meanwhile, there are also five Edca sites located in Palawan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro City.
These Edca sites are inside Philippine military bases, where US forces are allowed to rotate and store defense equipment and supplies.
Meanwhile, Teodoro and Austin also reaffirmed that the Mutual Defense Treaty extends to both countries’ armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft — including those of its Coast Guard — anywhere in the Pacific and the West Philippine Sea.