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Marcos says US requests, proposals on EDCA under review

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Thursday said the requests and proposals of the United States regarding the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) are being reviewed.

Marcos mentioned this at an event in Quezon City when asked about the review of the Mutual Defense Treaty, a 70-year-old accord that binds US to defend the Philippines from any aggression.

"Well, the Mutual Defense Treaty is continuously under negotiation and under evolution. I always call it... it’s an evolution because things are changing. The request — there have been many requests and proposals from the Americans, especially under EDCA," Marcos told reporters.

"So all of that is under study now to see what is really feasible and what will be the most useful for the defense of Philippine territory," he added.

"By early next year, we will have something more concrete to tell you."

Inked in 2014, the EDCA grants US troops access to designated Philippine military facilities, the right to construct facilities, and preposition equipment, aircraft, and vessels, but rules out permanent basing.

Manila and Washington are exploring the possibility of adding five more joint-use military facilities in the country under the EDCA as this would allow the US to respond more quickly to a range of disasters or crisis that could happen in any number of areas as well as providing greater training” for both sides.

During her recent visit to the Philippines, US Vice President Kamala Harris said the attacks made against Philippine forces in the South China Sea would invoke the United States' mutual defense promises.

Harris described the relations between Manila and Washington as based on "mutual concerns about security for the region." She stressed that the basis of the ties between the two countries was mutual commitments to international rules and norms. —KBK, GMA Integrated News