Marcos misinformed or misleading in saying EDCA sites won't be used for offensive—Castro

By LLANESCA T. PANTI,GMA Integrated News

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is either misinformed or misleading the public when he said that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites won’t be used for offensive actions, House Deputy Minority leader France Castro of ACT Teachers party-list said on Tuesday.

Castro cited Article 4 of the  EDCA, which provides that the US' "prepositioned materiel" will be for the exclusive use of the US forces and that the US forces shall have "control over the access to and disposition of such prepositioned materiel and shall have the unencumbered right to remove such prepositioned materiel at any time from the territory of the Philippines.”

“It seems that the President was misinformed on the true text of EDCA or he is misleading the Filipino people. It must also be noted that the EDCA does not prohibit the use of these prepositioned armaments in covert or overt military operations in the Philippines or abroad,” Castro said in a statement.

GMA News Online has sought Malacañang's comment and will publish it as soon as it is available.

Marcos on Monday said that the four additional sites under the EDCA would not be used for offensive actions.

"Ang reaksyon ng China ay di naman siguro kataka-taka pero hindi... naman tayo papayag na gamitin ang mga bases natin sa kahit anong offensive na action," Marcos told reporters when asked to comment on China's concern that the latest EDCA sites would provoke tension in the region.

"Ito ay para lamang tulungan ang Pilipinas pagka nangangailangan ng tulong," he added.


Castro said the EDCA indicated that the US had control over the sites.

"Kaya hindi ko malaman kung saan nanggaling ang sinasabi ng Malacañang, samantalang malinaw sa teksto ng EDCA na ang US ang may control sa mga EDCA sites kung anuman ang mga ipapasok doon o mga aktibidad man,” Castro said.

(I don’t understand where the Palace got its statement because it is clear that under EDCA, the US has control of their assets placed in EDCA sites.)

Castro said EDCA is tantamount to the return of the US military bases in the country because of its provision which reads “United States forces and United States contractors shall have unimpeded access to Agreed Locations for all matters relating to the prepositioning and storage of defense equipment, supplies, and materiel, including delivery, management, inspection, use, maintenance, and removal of such equipment, supplies, and materiel.”

“Sa pamamagitan talaga ng EDCA ay ginawang napakalaking base ng US ang Pilipinas, di man ito diretsong sinabi sa teksto ng kasunduan ay ito ang esensya at aktwal na nangyayari sa ngayon,” Castro said.

(EDCA is being used by the US in turning the Philippines into a huge military base for them. This is not directly provided by EDCA but this is the agreement’s essence and this is what is happening now.) —NB, GMA Integrated News