DFA: US allots more than $100 million for Edca
MANILA, Philippines — The United States has now allotted more than $100 million for the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca), the Department of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday.
DFA Secretary Enrique Manalo said the US pledged another $18 million on top of the initial $82 million for Edca during the recent 2+2 ministerial meeting between Manila and Washington.
“To date, the US allocated a total of over 100 million US dollars to Edca projects, including additional 18 million US Dollars announced during the third 2+2 ministerial dialogue last weekend in Washington,” Manalo said during an inquiry of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
“This would cover projects in both existing and new agreed locations,” he added.
Currently, there are five existing 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; Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, the country’s largest military camp and a frequent location of Philippine-US military exercises; Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu; and Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro City.
Malacañang has recently announced four additional Edca sites, which include the Camilo Osias Naval Base in Sta. Ana town and Lal-lo Airport in Lal-lo town in Cagayan province; Camp Melchor dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela; and Balabac, the southernmost island in Palawan province.
According to Manalo, there had been significant progress in eight of 16 projects in the initial five Edca locations.
Of the eight projects, six are estimated to be completed this 2023, including the runway project at Basa Air Base, the storage facility at Mactan Air Base, and the Humanitarian Disaster Relief warehouse in Fort Magsaysay.
The Edca, signed during the administration of the late President Benigno S. Aquino III in 2014, allows US troops access to and to store defense equipment and supplies in Philippine military bases.