US builds $2-M fuel depot at Cebu air base | Inquirer News

US builds $2-M fuel depot at Cebu air base

Facility, which will be run by Philippine Air Force, can store up to 40,000 liters, enough to gas up 10 C-130 cargo planes

US builds $2-M fuel depot at Cebu air base

GAS UP HERE A | $2-million fuel depot is now being constructed at the Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu. The air base, as shown in this photo taken in April, is one of five original sites of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the Philippines and the United States. (Photo by DALE G. ISRAEL / Inquirer Visayas)

CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — The United States is putting up a fuel depot worth $2 million, or roughly P111 million, at the Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Lapu-Lapu City on Mactan Island in Cebu province, one of the original sites of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) between the Philippines and the United States.

According to US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, the fuel depot, now 28 percent complete, was scheduled to be finished by October this year and would be used primarily to enhance the “interoperability” of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and its partners, mainly the US military forces.


“We (the United States) are investing money to build a fuel depot. Two large tanks. I have forgotten how many liters of fuel but huge tanks will be positioned there so that it will enhance the ability of Philippine aircraft to come in and refuel. That is a large fuel depot,” she told reporters in Cebu City on Friday.



Carlson was referring to the ongoing construction of a depot that could store around 40,000 liters of fuel, which was good enough to refuel around 10 Lockheed C-130 aircraft, a military cargo plane.

Carlson said the fuel depot would be owned and managed by the PAF, which would determine who could use the facility.

“This is a Philippine military base so the authorities, the Philippine Air Force, determine who can fuel up there. Primarily, that is [going to] be the Philippine military. So when that site is completed, it enhances the interoperability between US forces and Philippine forces but that site belongs to the Philippines. There is nothing right there that belongs to the United States. So the Philippine Air Force makes that determination,” she explained.

The construction of the depot happened just as the Edca was expanded in April to include four new sites, namely, the Naval Base Camilo Osias in Santa Ana and Lal-lo Airport, both in Cagayan province; Camp Melchor dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela; and Balabac Island in Palawan.

The existing Edca sites aside from the air base on Mactan are Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan and Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro City.

The US Department of Defense had announced in April that the expansion of Edca sites was to “strengthen the interoperability of the United States and Philippine armed forces and allow us to respond more seamlessly together to address a range of shared challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, including natural and humanitarian disasters.”


The Edca sites, it added, would also provide “places for joint and combined training and will improve regional readiness” of Philippine and US troops.

Funding support

The United States would be extending additional funding to the Philippines to develop the new Edca sites, on top of the $82 million already allocated for infrastructure investments at the five existing sites, its defense department said.

Carlson was in Cebu for three days for several activities, including a meeting with Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and other local government officials.

She also met with members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Cebu, had a dialogue with students from the University of Cebu, and visited historical sites including the Magellan’s Cross and the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño in Cebu City, aside from her inspection at the Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base’s fuel depot construction.

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It was the first time for her to visit Cebu since she assumed her post as US ambassador to the Philippines in July 2022.


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TAGS: Cebu fuel depot, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base, PH-US relations, US Department of Defense

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