PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, he will soon announce the four new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) sites that will be “scattered” around the country.
In an interview with reporters at the sidelines of the Philippine Army founding anniversary, Marcos said there would be new Edca sites in the northern and southern portion of the Philippines and Palawan.
"We'll make a formal announcement. But we will formalize it with our partners in the United States first so that we will not preempt...But yes, they have been identified," Marcos said.
"So there are four extra sites scattered around the Philippines. There are some in the north, there are some around Palawan, there are some further south. So iba-iba talaga. It’s really to defend our eastern coast," he added.
Marcos said they have already explained the importance of additional Edca sites to several local government officials who expressed opposition to having it established in their area.
“Mukha namang naiintindihan nila (It looks like they finally understand),” he said.
Earlier, Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the local government executives of Cagayan and Camarines Sur have already expressed openness to having Edca sites in their respective areas.
In January, during the visit of US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in the country, the National Government announced the development in the Edca, which allows US access to Philippine bases for joint training, prepositioning of equipment and establishment of facilities.
In November, US Vice President Kamala Harris said the US has allocated over $82 million towards Edca implementation at all five existing locations -- Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro City, Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, and Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu. (SunStar Philippines)