MANILA – Many social media users expressed optimism after the Philippines and the United States signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
The EDCA is a 10-year deal with a provision for renewal. It facilitates enhanced security cooperation between the US and the Philippines.
It will allow the US to increase rotation of its troops in military facilities in the Philippines.
On Monday, TV Patrol asked on Facebook and Twitter: "Pabor ka ba sa nilagdaang 'Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement' sa pagitan ng Pilipinas at US?"
Majority of the social media users who replied to the question believe that the defense deal will benefit the Philippines, especially amid its maritime dispute with China.
However, some fear that the US might use the agreement to its own advantage.
Left-wing activists have also been voicing out strong opposition to the defense pact, saying that the move to increase US access to military facilities will threaten Philippine sovereignty and do little to counter China.
University of the Philippines Development Studies and Public Management Professor Roland Simbulan has warned that the defense deal could simply be a way for Washington to legalize activities and operations that allegedly violates the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the two countries.
''The VFA is supposed to be strictly for transient training of U.S. forces, but they have been violating this. They have built permanent structures, stationed 600 special operations forces especially in Mindanao -- these are violations of the VFA. So they want now an agreement that will legalize these violations,'' Simbuland told ANC. - report from by Zsa-Zsa Zorilla