Barbers wants another Edca site in Surigao del Norte

Barbers wants an Edca site in Surigao del Norte

/ 11:03 PM March 19, 2024

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Robert Ace Barbers INQUIRER PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — While he praised the government’s move to secure Benham Rise by building a naval detachment in Aurora province, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers urged the country’s defense establishment to build sites on their province, too.

Barbers in a statement on Tuesday said that Surigao del Norte, like Aurora, is also a province that sits directly to the country’s eastern waters and the Pacific Ocean — which means it can also face threats from drug smugglers and foreign intruders.


“Surigao del Norte has a distinct advantage as it is openly facing the Pacific Ocean and has an outlet to the West Philippine Sea. The ships can traverse the country from east to west and vice versa without needing to circle around,” Barbers said.


READ: Defense chief checks on Navy site near Philippine Rise

READ: Palace names four more Edca sites

Possible Edca site

According to the lawmaker, he and his brother Surigao del Norte Governor Lyndon Barbers have invited Filipino and American military officials to check out their province as a possible next site for the Philippines and the United States’ Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca).

Barbers said he and his brother made the offer in September 2023, after US Indo-Pacific Command chief Adm. John Aquilino said he and AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. are considering additional sites for EDCA air force and naval facilities.

Last March 14, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. visited the naval detachment in Casiguran, Aurora — the closest military installation to Benham Rise or the Philippine Rise.

READ: 2 Chinese research vessels ‘loitering’ at Philippine Rise


Teodoro’s visit comes after two Chinese research vessels were seen loitering near the underwater plateau — which lies east of the country and stretches beyond China’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea.

According to the Department of National Defense (DND), naval detachment would play an important role in guarding the country’s eastern seaboard.

Barbers said Teodoro and the AFP’s decision to build a naval detachment in Casiguran was a good move.

Naval detachment

“Defense Secretary Gibo Teodoro and the AFP’s move to build a naval detachment in Casiguran, Aurora province was laudable as this would play a role in protecting and guarding the country’s eastern seaboard,” Barbers said.

As of now, there are five military installations designated as Edca sites: Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu, and Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro.

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Then in April 2023, the Presidential Communications Office named four new locations for the Edca: 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.

TAGS: Ace Barbers, Benham Rise, EDCA sites

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