By Francis Wakefield
The enhanced defense cooperation agreement (EDCA) is still on despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier pronouncements against the United States, defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Thursday, January 26.
In a press briefing at the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Lorenzana relayed word from Pentagon officials that they will start constructing some facilities in the camps chosen under EDCA:
- Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga
- Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa, Palawan
- Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City
“They will fix the runway and put up facilities also for their troops, storage for their belongings if they are here but they can leave the building there and leave then come back again. That is the idea of EDCA,” he added.
Lorenzana said President Rodrigo Duterte is aware of the situation.
“He’s okay with it, he’s okay with EDCA. He said we will honor all agreements that were entered into by the previous government,” Lorenzana said.
EDCA—a supplemental agreement to the existing visiting forces agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the U.S.—was signed by former defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin and former United States ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg in Manila on April 28, 2014.
When asked when the projects will start, Lorenzana said they still don’t have any details on that.
“We don’t know, it depends on the U.S. because they couldn’t appropriate. That’s what they told us last year. They couldn’t appropriate money until the issue of EDCA is ruled by the Supreme Court. So the SC ruled in January last year and it took them so many months until October last year also for the funding to be approved. So that’s part of their funding for fiscal year 2017.
“They have funding but we do not know when they will start constructing some of the facilities that we agreed on,” he added.
Tags: Antonio Bautista Air Base, Basa Air Base, Delfin Lorenzana, EDCA, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, Lorenzana: US to build fix facilities in PH camps under EDCA, Lumbia Airport, Manila Bulletin, military camp, PH-US relations, US, VFA, Visiting Forces Agreement