What does the new PH-US defense pact say?
MANILA, Philippines – After being kept under wraps for weeks leading to its signing, a copy of the controversial Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) has finally been released by the government.
A soft copy of the 10-page document was posted in the Official Gazette website on Tuesday afternoon.
EDCA grants the United States forces access to Philippine military facilities for the next 10 years.
It includes the following provisions:
1. It clearly states that the United States will not establish permanent military presence and bases in the Philippines.
2. The agreement is meant to promote the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) modernization while “helping maintain and develop additional maritime security, maritime domain awareness, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities.”
3. It gives US forces access to “agreed locations” on a rotational basis for “security cooperation exercises; joint and combined training activities; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities.” The activities may include “training; transit; support and related activities; refueling of aircraft; bunkering of vessels; temporary maintenance of vehicles, vessels and aircraft; temporary accommodation of personnel; communications; prepositioning of equipment, supplies and materiel; deploying forces and materiel; and other such other activities.”
4. Agreed locations will be made available without rental or similar costs. However, payment for the use of water, electricity and other public utilities will be shared prorate.
5. US is allowed to have “operational control” of agreed location “to make alterations and improvements.” But they shall consult with the other Party on the said issues.
6. US is authorized to store defense equipment, supplies and prepositioned materiel at agreed locations. They shall notify the AFP in advance on the quantity and delivery schedules. US forces and US contractors “shall have unimpeded access to agreed locations for all matters relating to the prepositioning and storage” of defense equipment, etc.
7. Prepositioned materiel will be for exclusive use of the US forces.
8. The prepositioned materiel shall not include nuclear weapons.
9. The Philippines shall retain ownership of Agreed Locations.
10. US shall return agreed locations to the Philippines once no longer required. “The Parties of the Designated Authorities shall consult regarding the terms of return of any Agreed Locations, including possible compensation for improvements or construction. Permanent buildings constructed by US forces become property of the Philippines but shall be used by US “until no longer required by United States forces.” US will retain title to moveable properties imported or acquired by US in the Philippines.
11. The Philippines will retain primary responsibility for security of agreed locations but US forces may exercise “all rights and authorities” in agreed locations for their operational control or defense.
12. Resolution of disputes on the EDCA shall be resolved between the two countries. It “shall not be referred to any national or international court, tribunal, or other similar body, or to any third party for settlement, unless otherwise agreed by the Parties.”
Below is a copy of the EDCA:
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