Palace hails EDCA signing

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 28 2014 10:50 AM | Updated as of Apr 28 2014 07:52 PM

MANILA - Malacanang hailed the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States.

Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma, in a statement, said “The signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States affirms the robust and enduring strategic partnership between the two countries.”

Coloma explained that the agreement opens wider opportunities for developing Philippine self-defense capabilities and strengthening maritime security and marine domain awareness at a time of evolving and rapidly changing global and regional realities.

“It also builds capacity for more effective disaster relief and rehabilitation response. These are vital elements in the continuing efforts of both countries to work in solidarity with the international community in attaining the shared goal of regional peace and stability," he said.

The EDCA was signed today in Camp Aguinaldo.

The EDCA is a 10-year deal with a provision for renewing. It's a framework that facilitates enhanced security cooperation between the U.S. and the Philippines.

It will allow the US enhanced rotational presence at facilities in the Philippines.

The White House says "it's a framework that will allow us to train and to exercise with the armed forces of the Philippines on a range of missions, including humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, maritime security; countering transnational crime, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."

The White House emphasized "it's not a basing agreement. This is not a sort of return to bases. It also isn't an agreement designed at resolving maritime disputes with any particular maritime dispute."

The White House also said that with regards to scope, duration and timing, "the US will work it out with the Philippines as part of a consultation process under our longstanding 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) Framework with the Philippines."

The agreement itself had been under negotiation for about eight months, with eight rounds of negotiation.

The EDCA is said to be the most significant military forces agreement between the 2 countries since the lapse of the basing agreement in the 1991.