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Defense chief calls for speed up development of PH bases
Defense chief calls for speed up development of PH bases
Defense chief calls for speed up development of PH bases
by Daylight Abas04 August 2023
Photo courtesy: GIBO Teodoro PH Facebook page

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. advocated on Thursday for the expeditious development of all sites in the Philippines where Americans have access for "increased operational tempo" during disaster response and to strengthen the country's deterrent.

Teodoro visited Lal-lo Airport in this province, one of four new sites introduced in April as part of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca), which raised the number of US-accessible facilities in the country from five to nine.

The four new sites, three of which face Taiwan and one in the West Philippine Sea, were deemed "essential to the integrity of our credible deterrent posture and Philippine territorial security," according to Teodoro.

Also on Thursday, two US military helicopters loaded with food, troops, and equipment set off from here to provide relief support in the aftermath of Typhoon "Egay" (international name: Doksuri), which affected 150,000 people here.

It was a clear demonstration of Washington's soft power in a province that borders Taiwan and whose governor is adamantly opposed to American involvement.

Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba had argued that including two Cagayan sites (one of which is a Philippine Navy facility) as part of the new Edca locations would pull the province into a US-China confrontation over Taiwan, the self-governing island Beijing claims as its own territory.

China, which has increased its assertiveness in the South China Sea and over Taiwan, accused the Philippines of "stoking the fire" of regional tensions by granting the US new Edca sites.

Without explicitly addressing China, Teodoro stated that the Philippines had guaranteed "other countries" that the country's Constitution prohibited it from engaging in war or offensive action.

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