6 EDCA projects with US to be completed in 2023 —Manalo

By JOVILAND RITA, GMA Integrated News

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) chief Enrique Manalo on Wednesday said six of the 16 projects in the five initial Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) locations would be completed this year.

“There has been significant progress in eight of the remaining 16 projects in the five originally agreed locations. Six of those projects are estimated to be completed in 2023,” said Manalo during a hearing of the Senate committee on foreign relations.

These projects include the runway project at Basa Air Base, storage facility at Mactan Air Base, and the humanitarian assistance and disaster response warehouse at Fort Magsaysay.

Manalo also confirmed that only five EDCA projects have been completed so far.

Meanwhile, the DFA chief said that the United States has allocated an additional $18 million for the funding of EDCA sites, which was also announced during the US-Philippines 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in Washington on April 11.

So far, the US has allocated a total of over $100 million for the EDCA projects for 2023.

Malacañang recently announced four new EDCA sites: 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.


Existing EDCA sites are Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu, and Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro City

China recently expressed concerns about the new EDCA sites saying it may draw the Philippines into a "potential conflict" in the Taiwan Strait. The Department of National Defense responded by saying that EDCA is not aimed against any country.

Signed in 2014, EDCA or the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement 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