Governor Manuel Mamba on Tuesday reiterated his stance against establishing a new EDCA site in Cagayan as he expressed fear that the base could become a "magnet" for attacks by US adversaries.
“As I previously said it is the President's call but I disagree and continuously oppose EDCA sites in Cagayan because they are magnets of attack by US adversaries due to the presence of foreign forces (US Armed Forces),” he told GMA News Online in a message.
While acknowledging that the matter is the call of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Mamba said he is hoping that the Chief Executive will reconsider the move.
“I am still hoping that the President reconsiders his decision since there are five other sites being developed earlier. Cagayan is always a friend to our neighboring countries,” he added.
On Monday, Malacañang announced the four additional Philippine military facilities that US forces will be given access to under the EDCA signed by the two countries.
The Presidential Communications Office said the new EDCA sites will be the Naval Base Camilo Osias in Sta. Ana, Cagayan; Lal-lo Airport in Lal-lo, Cagayan; Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela; and Balabac Island in Palawan.
Marcos earlier said the national government has already reached out to local government units that have expressed apprehension about establishing EDCA sites in their localities.
Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr., meanwhile, said the new EDCA sites will allow the US to preposition weapons and warships directed at China, which “will heighten tensions in the region and lead to an arms race.”
Reyes said the new facilities in the northern Philippines are worrisome because they are obviously aimed at Taiwan and will increase tensions in the area.
“Mr. Marcos should know that this isn’t a Hollywood movie like Top Gun. There are real and serious consequences to these geopolitical maneuvers,” he said.
“He has allowed the Philippines to be dragged into a conflict between two imperialist powers, one that is not in our interest,” he added.
Signed in 2014, EDCA grants US troops access to designated Philippine military facilities, allows them to build facilities, and pre-position equipment, aircraft, and vessels. —VAL, GMA Integrated News