The Philippines and the United States have announced their plans to establish four new bases in strategic areas of the Philippines as well as the substantial completion of the projects in the existing five agreed locations.
The announcement on the acceleration of the full implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) was made during the visit of US defense secretary Lloyd Austin to the Philippines on February 1.
Austin visited Camp Navarro in Mindanao where Philippine and US service members are working closely together. A US Joint Special Operations Task Force operates at the camp alongside Philippine service members as part of Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines — the only named operation in the Indo-Pacific.
While Austin will meet with senior leaders in the Philippine government, he chose to visit Mindanao first to highlight “the consistency and the interoperability of the US-Philippine alliance,” a senior defense official said.
According to a Pentagon statement, EDCA is a key pillar of the US-Philippines alliance, which supports combined training, exercises, and interoperability between our forces.
The Pentagon said the addition of these new EDCA locations will allow more rapid support for humanitarian and climate-related disasters in the Philippines, and respond to other shared challenges.
The United States has allocated over $82 million toward infrastructure investments at the existing five sites under the EDCA, and is proud that these investments are supporting economic growth and job creation in local Philippine communities.
The two sides also committed to move quickly in agreeing to the necessary plans and investments for the new and existing EDCA locations.