Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and US Ambassador Sung Kim led the groundbreaking ceremony of the first project under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the Philippines and the United States at the Cesar Basa Air Base in Pampanga.
US Embassy/Released
First EDCA facility breaks ground in Pampanga
( - April 18, 2018 - 10:49am

MANILA, Philippines — Officials from the Philippines and the US led the groundbreaking ceremony for the first major project under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the two countries.

A humanitarian assistance and disaster relief warehouse will be constructed at the Cesar Basa Air Base in Pampanga.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim spearheaded the groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday.

According to the US Embassy in Manila, the facility that will be built in Pampanga will be used to preposition equipment and supplies that would allow the Philippines and the US to quickly and effectively respond to humanitarian crises in the region.

"EDCA is a mutually beneficial agreement that will help build capacity for US forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines through interoperability, capability development, and modernization," the US Embassy said.

Under the agreement, the Philippines allowed the US to use five military bases, including the Cesar Basa Air Base, Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in Nueva Ecija, Lumbia Air Base in Misamis Oriental, Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan and Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu.

The US Embassy said that Washington will be working closely with Manila for future projects under the EDCA.

The EDCA also grants the US increased military presence in the Philippines through rotation of ships and planes for humanitarian and maritime operations.

The Philippines and the US signed the EDCA in 2014 but implementation was held up until the Supreme Court gave its final not to the agreement in January 2016.

In July 2016, the SC ruled with finality that the agreement does not violate the Constitution.

“EDCA did not go beyond the framework. The entry of US troops has long been authorized under a valid and subsisting treaty, which is the Visiting Forces Agreement. Reading the VFA along with the longstanding Mutual Defense Treaty led this Court to the conclusion that an executive agreement such as the EDCA was well within the bounds of the obligations imposed by both treaties,” the high court said in its July 2016 decision. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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