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Galvez says Cagayan, CamSur open to having EDCA sites

Defense chief Carlito Galvez Jr. on Monday said that local governments in Cagayan and Camarines Sur are open to establishing new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement sites in their areas.

At a press conference during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Basa Air Base Runway Rehabilitation in Pampanga, Galvez was asked about the reported opposition of Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba to the construction of EDCA sites in the province.

“We have already talked to Governor Mamba when he visited my office and he said for as long as the government decided he will abide with the decision of the President. And we have told them that we already decided and so he will conform with the decision,” he said.

“Almost all of the mayors of Cagayan, I can show you the resolution of different mayors, they love to have EDCA sites in their area,” he added.

Galvez added that some elected officials in Camarines Sur are also open to building new EDCA sites in the province considering the area is facing the Benham Rise.

“Even during our visit in Camarines Sur, even Governor [Luigi] Villafuerte and Congressman Villafuerte said we are open to the EDCA sites because it is fronting the Benham Rise,” he said.

In February, the Philippines and the United States agreed to designate four new sites in strategic areas in the country with the aim of accelerating the full implementation of the EDCA.

Asked about the hold-up in announcing the location of these sites, Galvez said, “Let’s wait for the announcement as we have agreed that it will be mutual understanding that we would have an agreement on announcing it.”

US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson and US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall III also attended the groundbreaking ceremony.

Galvez said the rehabilitation of the 2,800-meter Basa Air Base runway alone costs P1.373 billion excluding the improvements at P153.776 million and the construction of the wing operations center at P10.112 million.

“As of this month, March 2023, the United States government has funded a total amount of $83.06 million or roughly P4.56 billion. To simply put, 23% of the 21 bilaterally approved projects are completed while other projects are in various phases of design and construction,” Galvez said. — BM, GMA Integrated News