Admin lawmakers: PH gained ‘two-fold advantage’ in EDCA deal

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014


ADMINISTRATION allies in the House of Representatives in Tuesday said the country gained "two-fold advantage" after the signing of the Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the United States and Philippines.

Magdalo party-list Representative Ashley Acedillo said that aside from training exposure of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the country's soldiers will have a chance to test the authenticity of the US state-of-the-art military hardware.

"Despite the low level of modernization ng ating military ay hindi naman po tayo napag-iiwanan in terms of exposure. That will give us an idea where we should be headed in terms of modernizing our military. Second naman, 'yun pong increase ng military troops inside our camps and bases will require permanent structures," Acedillo said.

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The former rebel soldier said that the structures will be left behind so this will redound to the benefit of our military especially the camps and bases where these permanent structures will be set up by the US military.

Meanwhile, on the presumption that EDCA violates the Constitution because of the possibility that the US forces might bring in military hardware with nuclear, Cagayan de Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez believed that EDCA will not be declared unconstitutional because the agreement is very clear that they will abide what the Philippine law says, including the Constitution.

"The preamble which is in the agreement says recognizing the United States access to, and use of facilities and with full respect for the Philippine constitution and Philippine laws… the constitution says you will have no nuclear weapons to be stockpiled here, to be brought here," Rodriguez said.

The lawmaker added that a premature allegation that US troops might attempt to sneak weapons with nuclear is something that is neither here nor there, which cannot be a basis for going to the court and saying "they might bring it here."

"Any other constitutional provision aside from the nuclear provisions of Article II declaration of principles. So that is what we are saying, marami kasi ang nagsasalita "unconstitutional iyan," the lawmaker from Mindanao said.

Rodriguez said that there is no need for a Senate Ratification since EDCA is clearly under the provisions of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty as well as the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the logistical agreement the Philippines and US have.

"There is really no basis, I could not see any basis as a lawyer… if there are actual violations then probably that is the time, if there will be a violation of the constitution by implementing this, then that is the time," Rodriguez said.

Acedillo who claimed that he was able to secure a copy of the agreement cited Article 4 Section 6, which says preposition materials shall not include nuclear weapons.

"So very clear po 'yan doon so not only do they recognize our laws, our Constitution and our laws prohibit nuclear weapons it is also expressly stated in the agreement that they will not be bringing nuclear weapons into our camps and bases, which will be hosting US military troops,” the part-list lawmaker stressed. (Sunnex)

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