DND says US will not be allowed to build military depots in EDCA bases

MANILA-- The US will not be allowed to build any military depots in bases ear-marked for the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) under the US.

This was disclosed Tuesday by Department of National Defense (DND) public affairs office chief Arsenio Andolong in a message to the Philippine News Agency.

"The Secretary of National Defense supports the President's statements not (to) allow construction of military depots by the US," he said.

"We are reviewing the provisions of the EDCA on allowable infrastructures and ensure that the President's wishes are followed," he added.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that the Americans are unloading weapons and other stores in the EDCA dedicated facilities in the Philippines.

However, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) maintained that only equipment and materials intended for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions may be stockpiled in military facilities earn-marked for EDCA.

Earlier, the Department of National Defense announced that the United States will start building some facilities that can house troops and their equipment in Basa Air Base, Floridablance, Pampanga; Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa, Palawan; and Lumbia Airfield in Cagayan De Oro, in relation to EDCA-related activities.

Construction is expected to be done within the year.

"(These claims) were checked by the AFP and it was found out that there was not confirmed incident of this nature and EDCA, like what was announced, is geared for the preparedness (of our forces) to respond to HADR situation faster," said AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla in Filipino.

"And if they are constructing warehouses or storage areas of equipment or items, these should be oriented for HADR (like generator sets, rubber boats, or shelter-type materials, and water purifiers)," he added.

The AFP spokesperson said construction of fuel depots are allowable in EDCA as this will allow aircraft to refuel and do repeated missions transporting relief goods and saving lives in times of calamities. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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