Phl, U.S. mull 63 new EDCA projects

PHOTOGRAPH BY ANALY LABOR FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE @tribunephl_ana General Romeo S. Brawner (right), Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, and Admiral John C. Aquilino, chief of the US Indo-Pacific Command, lead Thursday’s Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board meeting and press conference in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

The Philippines and the United States are eyeing the implementation of more projects under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.
Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. and US Indo-Pacific Command chief Adm. John Aquilino revealed a possible increase in EDCA sites hosted by the Philippines on the sidelines of their meeting Thursday.

Brawner and Aquilino presided over the annual Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board meeting.

“General Brawner and I may make recommendations to our senior leaders for the consideration of additional [EDCA] sites, but there is still work to do there,” Aquilino said.

“We are in discussions, but everyone has a boss, and we both have bosses. We’ll have those conversations, I think, in private and give our bosses some decision space on how they’d like to go forward,” the US officer said.

According to Aquilino, 32 projects have been approved for the existing EDCA sites.

“We’ve gone from 32 — we’ve added 63 others — and the United States has identified an investment of almost $110 million in those sites to build capability capacity for the AFP to use every day and for the United States to fall in on when invited,” he said.

Brawner clarified that the existing EDCA sites are for the shared use of Philippine and US soldiers on joint military training.

“When we talk about EDCA sites, these are, as mentioned, existing Philippine camps or Philippine bases. We are just opening these up for shared use with our counterpart, with our only ally, the United States, because we believe that doing certain things together would bring more value, for instance, training together, so some of these EDCA sites would be designed specifically for joint training,” he said.

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