Senator sees EDCA as a strong deterrent

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014


THE Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed by the Philippines and the United States is a strong deterrent against provocative or hostile acts in the West Philippine Sea, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said Tuesday.

In a statement, Pimentel also said the EDCA, signed last Monday hours before US President Barack Obama arrived in Manila for an overnight visit, "would help ensure the enforcement of international law in the region."

"The pact covers a full range of defense cooperation and increased rotational presence of US troops, which would particularly enhance regional collective responsibility in controlling transnational crimes such as illegal drugs and human trafficking, among others," Pimentel said.

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It would also boost the country's drive against illegal drugs, he said.

"This has to be stopped, because illegal drugs not only destroy the future of our youths but they destroy the social fabric and lead to a host of other criminal acts," he said.

Pimentel noted Obama's statement that the pact's objectives were not limited to "issues of maritime security."

It covers as well assistance to Manila in disaster response, Obama said, as well as "additional threats that may arise that we are able to work in a cooperative fashion."

Pimentel said the worsening problem in drug trafficking could now be properly addressed with the aid of hi-tech US surveillance equipment and the use of fast crafts and airborne superiority to track down and catch the drug traffickers while in transit.

He said further that the increased presence of US troops in Asia would be a strong disincentive against a possible flashpoint in the West Philippine Sea region marred by a dispute over coral outposts believed to be rich in gas and oil resources.

Recent provocative acts by China in the disputed territories increased tensions in the region, even as the Manila government raised before a UN tribunal its claim on the disputed islands. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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