United States Ambassador Sung Y. Kim and Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorezana led the groundbreaking ceremony for the first major project under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) at Cesar Basa Air Base, Pampanga on April 17.
Also present during the ceremony were Philippine Air Force commanding general Lt. Gen. Galileo Kintanatar and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Policy Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla.
The US Embassy in Manila said the ceremony marked the beginning of construction of a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief warehouse which will be used to preposition equipment and supplies critical to the US and Philippines’ ability to respond quickly and effectively to humanitarian crises in the region.
“EDCA is a mutually beneficial agreement that will help build capacity for U.S. forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines through interoperability, capability development, and modernization,” the American embassy said.
Basa Air Base is one of the five EDCA agreed locations – including Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation, Lumbia Air Base, Antonio Bautista Air Base, and Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base – where the US military will be given access to build facilities and pre-position equipment.
EDCA, however, rules out permanent basing of US military in Philippines.
Among the primary features of EDCA are: Philippines retention of primary responsibility for security of the Agreed Locations; Access of the AFP base commander to the entire area of the Agreed Locations; Philippine ownership of buildings and infrastructure once constructed by US military; Prohibition of entry to the Philippines of nuclear weapons, and reference to respective obligations of both Parties under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention.
Sources: https://ph.usembassy.gov/enhanced-defense-cooperation-agreement-groundbreaking-ceremony/; http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/2014/04/28/qna-on-the-enhanced-defense-cooperation-agreement/