Marcos: US proposals for EDCA, defense treaty ‘under study’

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 01 2022 01:25 PM | Updated as of Dec 01 2022 02:10 PM

MANILA - The government is reviewing proposals from the United States concerning the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. said on Thursday. 

This, as the country seeks to find “the most useful” ways to defend its territory. 

“The request --- there have been many requests and proposals from the Americans, especially under EDCA,” the President said during a chance interview in Quezon City. 

“So all of that is under study now to see what is really feasible and what will be the most useful for the defense of Philippine territory,” he added.

Video from RTVM

Last month, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said US is looking into building 5 additional joint military facilities in the Philippines under EDCA.

AFP chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro said 2 sites are expected to rise in Cagayan, and one each in Isabela, Zambales, and Palawan.

Marcos Jr said this was among the things he discussed with American Vice President Kamala Harris during her visit to the country last month. 

“The use of our bases, all of these. We are in the middle of that. Palagay ko, by early next year we will have something more concrete to tell you,” he said. 

The two leaders’ discussions also involved security and joint exercises, he said. 

The EDCA - signed under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III - allows US forces access to 5 Philippine bases to help counterbalance the growing Chinese presence in the South China Sea.

It is seen as an expansion of the decades-old MDT, which guarantees that Manila and Washington will come to the aid of the other should one of them be under attack.

In that note, the President also reiterated that the country’s defense pact with the US is constantly “under negotiation and under evolution.”

“I always call it as an evolution because things are changing,” he said.