US builds $2M fuel depot at Cebu airbase
CEBU CITY — The United States is constructing a fuel depot at the Mactan-Benito Ebuen Airbase in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, investing over $2 million in the project.
US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson announced that the fuel depot is expected to be completed by October this year.
Its primary purpose is to enhance the interoperability of the Philippine Air Force and its partners, taking advantage of the strategic location of Mactan Island.
“We (the United States government) are investing money to build a fuel depot with two large tanks. I have forgotten the exact capacity in liters, but they are substantial tanks that will be positioned there to enhance the refueling capabilities for Philippine aircraft. It is a large fuel depot,” she stated during a meeting with reporters in Cebu City on Friday, May 19.
Carlson referred to the ongoing construction of a depot capable of storing around 40,000 liters of fuel, sufficient to refuel approximately ten C130 aircraft.
The construction is currently underway within the Benito Ebuen Airbase and is estimated to be 28 percent completed. The airbase is one of the original sites designated under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
The fuel depot will be owned and managed by the Philippine Air Force, and they will have the authority to determine who can utilize the facility.
“This is a Philippine military base, so the Philippine Air Force determines who can refuel there. Primarily, it will be for the Philippine military,” she said.
“Once the site is completed, it will enhance the interoperability between US forces and Philippine forces. However, it is important to note that the site belongs to the Philippines. There is nothing within it that belongs to the United States. The determination of usage is made by the Philippine Air Force,” she said.
Carlson’s visit to Cebu spans three days and includes various engagements, such as a meeting with Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, key local government officials, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Cebu.
She also held a dialogue with students from the University of Cebu and visited historical sites such as Magellan’s Cross and the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño in Cebu City. Furthermore, she inspected the ongoing construction of the fuel depot at the Mactan airbase.
This visit marks Carlson’s first time in Cebu since assuming her post as Ambassador to the Philippines in July 2022.