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Pentagon Unveils 4 New Military Bases in Philippines

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The Department of Defense will open four new strategic military sites in the Philippines to help the U.S. military be more ready and responsive in the area as China continues to act aggressively, display off, and build up its military in the area.


The new locations mark an expansion of the two countries’ Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which allows the US access to Philippine military bases for joint training initiatives and equipment prepositioning.


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 will be among the four new locations. Cesar Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation, Lumbia Air Base, Antonio Bautista Air Base, and Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base are already included in the agreement.


“These new locations, in addition to the five existing sites, will strengthen the interoperability of the United States and Philippine armed forces and allow us to respond more seamlessly together to address a range of shared challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, including natural and humanitarian disasters,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said at a press briefing on April 3.


The new sites are strategically located, with Isabela and Cagayan facing north, towards Taiwan, and Palawan near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, where China’s ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has built artificial islands with missile systems and military runways.
“The expansion of EDCA simply strengthens our training with the Philippines,” Singh explained. “It is about creating regional readiness, but it is also about being able to respond to any type of disaster or humanitarian disaster that may occur in the region.”


On Monday, the office of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. echoed those remarks, claiming that the expansion would “boost the disaster response” and humanitarian efforts of the US, while also protecting the country’s east coast. Meanwhile, Philippine Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. described the locations as “very strategic,” emphasising that his country owed the international community a duty to defend the South China Sea.


“That’s a trade route… through which more or less USD 3 trillion in trade passes [annually],” he explained.
The two countries announced the planned expansion in a joint statement on Feb. 1, claiming that increased cooperation would make the alliance “stronger and more resilient” and would “accelerate modernization of our combined military capabilities.”

“These new locations, in addition to the five existing sites, will strengthen the interoperability of the United States and Philippine armed forces and allow us to respond more seamlessly together to address a range of shared challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, including natural and humanitarian disasters”

– Sabrina Singh


The Defense Department pledged on Monday to work in “lockstep” with the Philippine Department of National Defense and Armed Forces to achieve that modernization, including allocating additional funds for infrastructure at the new sites.The US has already spent more than USD 82 million on infrastructure at the five existing EDCA sites.


“The United States is committed to ensuring that its activities around EDCA sites are responsive to the needs and priorities of local communities,” the department said in a statement. “We will continue to consult closely with the Philippines on new opportunities that serve our shared interests.”


“For more than seven decades, the United States and the Philippines have stood shoulder to shoulder as friends and allies, unwavering in our treaty commitments and our shared vision for a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous region,” the department continued.


“The steps we are taking to expand the EDCA and modernise the alliance will ensure that this vision lives on for a long time.”

Info source – The Epoch Times

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