US, PH officials lead groundbreaking of first major EDCA project

The construction of a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) storage facility in Basa Air Base in Pampanga began on Tuesday, April 17.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and United States Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim led the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the warehouse, which is one of five projects under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the two countries.

The facility will be used to store equipment and other supplies critical to responding efficiently and effectively to “evolving security challenges and promote peace” in the Asian region, according to Lorenzana.

In his speech, Lorenzana also applauded the alliance between the Philippines and U.S. “built on a strong foundation of shared values, sacrifices, and history.” 

“I know that EDCA is one of the sure ways to enhance our alliance and help promote peace and security in the region as it provides a framework through which both the Philippines and the United States will approach the evolving security challenges,” he added.

The Defense chief also said EDCA allows the increase in training opportunities for the U.S. and the Philippine forces, increasing the interoperability of both militaries.

EDCA trainings, likewise, allow both forces to respond to humanitarian crises affecting the Philippines.

“Hence, it is the Filipino community that will ultimately benefit from this project which is not only a testament to our countries’ commitment to having a stronger alliance, but also to our desire to help one another grow capabilities together,” Lorenzana said.

Kim, meanwhile, described EDCA as a testament to the “continued dedication and commitment to our partnership and friendship” and an  “agreement between two sovereign nations, a pact between equals.”

“As we break ground at the very first major EDCA project, we look forward to continuing to work closely with Philippine government for future EDCA projects at the five agreed locations,” the U.S. ambassador said.

“The Philippines, of course, will maintain full control of facilities,” Kim added.

Signed in 2014, EDCA is an agreement that allows the U.S. military to construct facilities and pre-position defense assets inside Philippine military bases: Basa Airbase in Pampanga, Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro, and Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu.

The Filipino-American Community Newspaper. Your News. Your Community. Your Journal. Since 1991.

Copyright © 1991-2024 Asian Journal Media Group.
All Rights Reserved.