U.S. to start building facilities in Philippine military camps this year

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 26, 2017
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Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Thursday that the U.S. military will start building facilities in Philippine military camps this year.

Lorenzana told reporters that the plan is part of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that Washington and Manila signed in 2014.

"According to the Pentagon, they will start constructing some facilities in the EDCA chosen camps. I think the first camp where they will develop these facilities is in Basa," Lorenzana said, referring to the Base Air Base in Pampanga province near Subic and Clark, the former U.S. military bases that were converted into economic zones.

Aside from Basa, the U.S. armed forces also plans to build facilities in Antonio Bautista Air Base located in Palawan, the Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija province in the main Luzon island, Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro province in the southern Philippines, and Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu in central Philippines.

The Philippine constitution bars the presence of foreign military bases, troops, or facilitates on Philippine soil. However, Lorenzana said facilities that will be put up in these camps would be used by American troops to store their equipment.

Lorenzana said that President Rodrigo Duterte is aware of and agrees with the proposed projects.

"It's okay (with him) because he has said that we will honor all agreements that were entered into by the previous government. So, that's okay with him."

Duterte has criticized the U.S. for "treating the Philippines like a dog on a leash," and has warned the U.S. that he would like to see them go and not maintain their presence in the Philippines.

He even warned to scrap EDCA and the Visiting Forces Agreement with the U.S.

EDCA allows for the increased presence of U.S. forces, ships, aircraft and equipment in the Philippines and greater access to Philippine military bases. However, U.S. military personnel are to be deployed on a rotational basis as the U.S. is not allowed to establish any permanent military bases.

Duterte has earlier said that he wants all security agreements between the U.S. and the Philippines reviewed, and even threatened to scrap EDCA saying that it does not benefit the Philippine military. Endit

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