Cagayan governor opposes possible hosting of EDCA sites
Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba on Monday said he is not keen on having an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) site be established in his province.
This came after the Department of National Defense’s (DND) announcement of a deal that gave US troops access to four more bases in strategic areas of the country, with the aim of accelerating the full implementation of the EDCA.
While DND has yet to name the locations of these new EDCA sites, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in November 2022 mentioned two sites in Cagayan, and one each in Palawan, Zambales, and Isabela where the additional joint military facilities with the United States could be built.
Mamba said he is not yet being officially informed about the matter, but believes that Cagayanon would also oppose it.
“Ako, I’ve not really consulted ‘yung constituents ko. Pero ako, it’s not welcome. Well, any foreign, sa akin, any foreign forces or foreign bases staying in our country, especially kung nuclear power sila, will always be a magnet also for nuclear power attack. We can’t afford to be ganon,” he said in a Super Radyo dzBB interview.
(I’ve not really consulted my constituents yet. But for me, it’s not welcome. To me, any foreign forces or foreign bases staying in our country, especially if they have a nuclear power, will always be a magnet also for nuclear power attack. We can’t afford to be like that.)
“Kami, we are willing to die in field for our country and our province, but not with these foreign [people]. Why should we fight their battles and their wars?” he added.
The DND said on Thursday that the new EDCA locations will allow more rapid support for humanitarian and climate-related disasters in the Philippines, and respond to other shared challenges.
However, Mamba said he does not believe that the new EDCA sites would only be purely used for that purpose.
“Hindi po totoo. Kung Amerikano lang ang sasabihin, we already had two super typhoons… wala akong nakitang Amerikano na tumulong. Kayang kaya naman natin ‘yang disaster na ‘yan by ourselves,” he said.
(That’s not true. If we’re talking about Americans, we already had two super typhoons… I didn’t see any of them who helped us. We can handle disaster efforts by ourselves.)
Signed in 2014, EDCA grants US troops access to designated Philippine military facilities, the right to construct facilities, and preposition equipment, aircraft and vessels, but rules out permanent basing. The Philippine Constitution outlaws foreign military bases in the country unless covered by a treaty.—AOL, GMA Integrated News
This article Cagayan governor opposes possible hosting of EDCA sites was originally published in GMA News Online.