The United States, through the Pentagon, said the four new locations under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) in the Philippines will “strengthen the interoperability” of American and Filipino soldiers.
In a statement shared by the US Embassy in Manila, the Pentagon said the additional EDCA sites will “allow us to respond more seamlessly together to address a range of shared challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, including natural and humanitarian disasters.”
The US Department of Defense (USDoD) on Monday said it will work “in lockstep” with its Philippine counterpart and the Armed Forces of the Philippines “to rapidly pursue modernization projects at the EDCA sites.”
The US said it “stands steadfastly in support of the Philippines” as it announced the EDCA expansion to include the Naval Base Camilo Osias in Santa Ana, Cagayan; Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela; Balabac Island in Palawan; and Lal-lo Airport in Cagayan.
The Pentagon noted that the naming of these locations followed a February 2023 announcement in which Washington and Manila had “committed to designate four new EDCA sites in strategic areas” of the Philippines.
The USDoD said it “intends to expand funding on top of the $82 million we have already allocated toward infrastructure investments at the existing EDCA sites.”
“In addition to supporting ‘alliance commitments,’ these investments will also spur economic growth and job opportunities in their respective provinces,” it added.
The US also said that it “is committed to ensuring its activities around EDCA sites are responsive to the needs and priorities of local communities.”
“We will continue to consult closely with the Philippines on new opportunities that serve our shared interests,” the Pentagon said.
“The United States and the Philippines have stood shoulder-to-shoulder as friends and allies for more than seven decades, unwavering in our treaty commitments and our shared vision for a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous region,” it stressed.
“The strides we are making to expand the EDCA and modernize the alliance will ensure this vision endures far into the future,” the Pentagon said.