The four additional Philippine military bases that the United States now has access to under a 2014 defence and security deal will not be used for offensive actions, said Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr on April 10.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr statement came after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning warned that Manila’s decision to expand the number of military bases under the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with Washington may draw the Philippines “into a whirlpool of a potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait”.
Manila and Washington in February agreed to expand the EDCA by naming four more military bases where American forces can construct facilities, bring in equipment and hold joint training exercises with their Philippine counterparts. He made assurances that while the Philippines will primarily protect its territory, it will not take action unless provoked. Five other military bases were previously identified under EDCA in 2016, which means the US now has access to a total of nine military locations in the Philippines.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr added the expansion of EDCA is also meant for humanitarian and relief operations during disasters. He pointed out that Isabela and Cagayan provinces are often lashed by typhoons, triggering landslides and flash floods.