‘Edca a magnet for war,’ says lawmaker
MANILA, Philippines – The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) will put the Philippines in the sights of the United States’ enemies, which is why it could not be a deterrent to war, according to Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares.
“On the contrary the Edca is a deterrent to peace and a magnet for war because all the enemies of the US will have the Philippines as one of its targets due to this deal,” Colmenares said in a statement, in reaction to the statements of Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista.
Bautista earlier said the Edca was a creative way to establish deterrence and avoid conflict and face challenges to national security.
Bautista also defended the deal, saying it was meant to operationalize the country’s Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States, “ which serves as a deterrence to any armed aggression.”
Under the Edca, US military forces would have access to and use of agreed locations in the Philippines, and could construct infrastructure. They could also preposition assets here.
Colmenares, whose group has been critical of Edca from the beginning, downplayed the advantages it was said to give the Philippines in terms of disaster assistance, military improvement, and protection against China’s aggressiveness in territorial disputes, saying these were “mostly overrated and hyped.”
“Disaster assistance and military modernization can be achieved without the Edca. Also, the primary government reason for the deal now which is to serve as deterrence to China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea is not sound because the US would not risk a war with China because its economy would collapse without China,” he said.
He noted that the US owes China $1.28 trillion and has a $579 billion trade with China.
He doubts the US would come to the Philippines’ side should tension between it and China escalate over territorial issues.
“All the US would do is posture that it would defend the Philippines but it will not. That is the hard and cold reality, so it is best that this lopsided deal be declared unconstitutional as early as possible so as to prevent any man-made disaster from hitting our country,” he said.
He also reiterated his earlier position that Edca was circumventing the Constitution and allowing the turning of the whole country into one big US military base.
Colmenares also decried that the administration has yet to issue to his group a certified true copy of the Edca. He said he suspects that this was meant to delay the filing of cases against it.
“We have requested for a copy since the Edca’s signing last April but both the Department of National Defense and the Department of Foreign Affairs are stonewalling on our request,” he said.
“But we will no longer wait because it is the sovereignty and interest of our whole country that is at stake. We hope that the Supreme Court will also take this view and take a nationalist stance,” he added.
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