Marcos says new military bases with US to be ‘scattered’ around the Philippines

A US Navy sailor on the deck of the USS America (LHA-6) amphibious assault ship docked at the Port of Manila on March 21. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Under the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement, the US has access to Philippine bases for joint training, pre-positioning of equipment and building of facilities. PHOTO: AFP

MANILA – Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said on Wednesday that he will make a formal announcement soon on the locations of four additional military bases under the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (Edca) with the United States.

Mr Marcos in February granted the United States access to four sites, on top of five existing locations under the 2014 Edca, amid China’s increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea and towards self-ruled Taiwan.

“There are four extra sites scattered around the Philippines. There are some in the north. There are some around Palawan. There are some farther south,” Mr Marcos told reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Army’s founding anniversary.

Edca gives the US access to Philippine bases for joint training, pre-positioning of equipment and building of facilities such as runways, fuel storage and military housing, but not a permanent presence.

Speaking before Philippine troops, Mr Marcos told them to be vigilant, as he said that the external threat to their country’s security was becoming more “complex” and “unpredictable”.

“Be vigilant against elements that will undermine our hard-earned peace, our hard-earned stability, continue to improve relations with your counterparts overseas,” he said.

He said he was aware of an “emerging threat” to the Philippines’ territory, which he said would require “adjustments in our strategy”.

Mr Marcos did not give specifics, but he has previously cited the need to look beyond internal threats to security.

“The external security environment is becoming more complex. It is becoming more unpredictable,” he said. REUTERS

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