MANILA The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States will allow both nations to approach evolving security challenges in the region.
This was stressed by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana during the groundbreaking ceremony of the first EDCA warehouse project in Basa Air Base, Floridablanca, Pampanga Tuesday.
"The US-Philippines alliance is built on a strong foundation of shared values, sacrifices, and history. I know that EDCA is one of the sure ways to enhance our alliance and help promote peace and security in the region as it provides a framework through which both the Philippines and the United States will approach the evolving security challenges," he added.
Lorenzana also said EDCA would allow increase in training opportunities for the US and the Philippine forces beefing up the inter-operability of both militaries.
Aside from this, EDCA training will also permit Filipino and American forces to immediately respond to humanitarian crises affecting the Philippines.
"EDCA is a demonstration that our two nations are interested in long term solutions to shared problems. We are truly thankful that the EDCA supports our government's goal of promoting the long-term modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through development of certain facilities and bases such as this here in Basa. EDCA also helps the AFP in performing its roles in maritime security, maritime domain awareness, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief," the DND chief added.
Once completed, the EDCA warehouse in Basa Air Base will serve as storage area for equipment and other supplies that will aid in providing assistance to the Filipino people during times of crisis and disasters.
"The prepositioning of equipment and supplies in a consolidated location increases our ability to respond quickly. Hence, it is the Filipino community that will ultimately benefit from this project which is not only a testament to our countries' commitment to having a stronger alliance, but also to our desire to help one another grow capabilities together," Lorenzana added.
The United States is working closely with the Philippine government on future EDCA projects at five locations namely Cesar Basa Air Base, Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation, Lumbia Air Base, Antonio Bautista Air Base, and Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base.
Finalized after eight rounds of talks that began in August 2013, EDCA, which was signed in April 2014, allows US troops access to designated Philippine military facilities, the right to construct facilities, and pre-position equipment, aircraft and vessels, but rules out permanent basing. (With reports from Ericka Cirera, OJT/PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency