The United States and Philippines on January 29 conducted the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first major facility, multi-purpose humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) warehouse, built at Lt. Cesar Basa Air Base in Pampanga under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
National Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana and US Ambassador to the Philippines Ambassador Sung Y. Kim attended the said event together with Filipino and American military personnel.
“EDCA is a mutually beneficial agreement that aims to help build capacity for the US forces and the AFP through interoperability, capability development, and modernization, among others,” Secretary Lorenzana said.
Construction of the said facility started during the groundbreaking ceremony in April 2018. The warehouse 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.
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.