Sen. Marcos on Edca sites: Why do we rely on foreigners to defend us? | Inquirer News

Sen. Marcos on Edca sites: Why do we rely on foreigners to defend us?

/ 11:40 AM April 19, 2023

Sen. Marcos on Edca sites: Why do we rely on foreigners to defend us?

Senator Imee Marcos (PHOTOS by Senate PRIB, Marianne Bermudez, and 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Imee Marcos on Wednesday said it appears that the government is now relying on “foreigners” for its external defense following the approval of four more Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) sites in the country.

During an inquiry, Marcos, who chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, reiterated that Edca’s primary objective is no longer the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s modernization but disaster preparedness, maritime security, and counterterrorism.


Defense chief Carlito Galvez Jr., however, said these objectives require AFP modernization.

“With regards to the purpose of Edca and modernization, it appears to us, to reiterate, that in fact modernization no longer appears to be the primary of Edca but disaster preparedness, maritime security, and counterterrorism,” Marcos said.

“In really implementing those functions, we need to modernize, madam, considering all those…” Galvez said, interrupted by the Senator.

Sen. Marcos said: “Bakit parang nakalimutan na natin, parang aasa na lang ba tayo sa mga dayuhan na ipagtanggol tayo samantalang ang ating sandatahang lakas ay nanatiling bulok, luma, (Why have we forgotten [AFP modernization] and we are just relying on foreigners to defend us while the armed forces remain rotten, old) under armed and completely abject in the face of external threats?

To this, Galvez noted that the acquisition plans laid out under the Horizon 3 of the AFP Modernization Program, which includes the procurement of radar systems, missile systems, [and] offshore patrol vessels, among other equipment.

Sen. Marcos said: “You make reference to projects under Horizon projects one, two, and three, which were not referred to at Edca, but are in part and parcel of the AFP Modernization. What does Edca add to the modernization effort?


Galvez said in response: “The modernization effort of EDCA is to, basically, to really prepare to defend our country collectively with our allies.”

However, Sen. Marcos was not satisfied with the official’s answer, ordering the official to submit to the Senate panel a further explanation of Edca’s modernization aspect.

“That’s a very general statement, I would appreciate it if you could submit in the future, in the near future, the modernization aspect of Edca, which has not been clarified to any of us in this chamber,” Marcos said.

Marcos repeatedly expressed apprehensions about the new Edca sites in the country, saying the locations are a “stone’s throw” away from Taiwan.

This comes as the United States warned of a conflict with China as early as 2025 — over the self-ruled island.

READ: Senior US general warns of possible looming war with China

Malacañang has since named the four new additional Edca sites at Camilo Osias Naval Base in Sta. Ana town and Lal-lo Airport in Lal-lo town, both in Cagayan province; Camp Melchor dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela province; and Balabac, the southernmost island in Palawan province.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Currently, there are five predetermined Edca sites located at Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, which is closest to the Kalayaan Group of Islands; Basa Air Base in Pampanga, the home of the Philippine Air Force’s fighter planes; and Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, the country’s largest military camp and a frequent location of Philippine-US military exercises.

The other two areas are Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu and Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro City.

The Edca, signed in 2014 during late President Benigno S. Aquino’s administration, allows US troops to rotate through Philippines military bases and also store defense equipment and supplies inside them.

TAGS: Carlito Galvez Jr., EDCA, Imee Marcos

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.