President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s official working visit to the US is a good chance to discuss the renewal of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement under new terms and conditions, Senator Imee Marcos has said.
In an interview, Imee said among the provisions that should be considered include payments for the use of the Philippine military facilities by the US forces, the protection of Filipino women from prostitution, and the Filipino community's benefits from the presence of US troops.
“It’s an opportunity to discuss a renewal if we would like one, under new terms and conditions,” Imee said.
Article XII of the EDCA provides that the agreement shall have an initial term of ten years, and thereafter, shall continue to be in force unless terminated by either party by giving one year’s written notice through diplomatic channels.
EDCA, which grants US troops access to designated Philippine military facilities, allows them to build facilities, and pre-position equipment, aircraft, and vessels, was signed on April 28, 2014.
"Katulad ng nabanggit noong hearing eh dapat naman yata may bayad sila para upahan ang mga base militar natin. Kasi yun naman ang pakay ng EDCA na kumita yung ating Sandatahang Lakas at higit sa lahat, ma-modernize. Papaano naman siya ma-modernize, tayo magbabayad sa lahat? Pati yung kuryente, pati yung kanilang tubig',” the lawmaker said.
(As mentioned in the hearing, perhaps they should pay for the use of our military bases because the objective of the EDCA is for our Armed Forces to modernize. How can we modernize if we'd pay for everything including their electricity and water?)
Marcos on Monday said he would discuss the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement with US President Joe Biden during his working visit to Washington.
EDCA and VFA operationalize the 1951 MDT.
Marcos said there was a need for the MDT to “evolve” and adjust amid the situation in the South China Sea, Taiwan, and North Korea.
Marcos and Biden will have a bilateral meeting amid the expansion of the EDCA. The two sides earlier announced the addition of four more Philippine military facilities which may be accessed by the US forces.
It will also happen as the tension between the US and China escalates due to the issue in Taiwan. China claims self-governing Taiwan as its province.
The four new EDCA sites are 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. —NB, GMA Integrated News