Philippines: US to start building facilities in selected military camps

by Fernan Marasigan
The Manila Times, Philippines

MANILA (Tribune News Service) — Amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-U.S. rants, Americans will start constructing facilities this year inside selected camps of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca), whose constitutionality was upheld by the Supreme Court last year, allows the U.S. to use temporary facilities in the country.

“According to the Pentagon they will start constructing some facilities in the Edca chosen camps,” Lorenzana told reporters in a news briefing on Thursday.

The camps where the facilities will be constructed are in Basa Air Base, Pampanga, Bautista Air Base in Palawan and Lumbia Airfield in Cagayan De Oro.

“[But] I think the first camp that they will develop these facilities is in Basa,” he added.

Among others, the U.S. will set-up runways, facilities for U.S. troops and storage areas for their equipment, the defense chief said.

“But they can leave the building there and leave and they can come back again, that is the idea of Edca,” Lorenzana explained.

He said the President is aware of the development and is okay with it.

“He said we will honor all agreements that were entered into by the previous government,” he added.

A military official had said the U.S. facilities are not for military use but for humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR).

As discussed, U.S. authorities would be allowed to store and keep items related to HADR operations, Brig. Restituto Padilla Jr. said earlier.

The items include power generators, lightings, water purifiers, mobility equipment like trucks, heavy lifters, and forklifts among others.

“The storage of equipment right now is limited to HADR equipment, so no tanks, no warfighting equipment for the moment,” he added.

©2017 The Manila Times (Manila, Philippines)
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