Next administration should revisit EDCA

22 March 2016

The next administration should revisit the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and United States (US) to make sure the Philippines gets the best terms under the agreement.

In a press conference in Olongapo City, Marcos said the fact that the agreement did not pass through the scrutiny of the Senate is enough reason why the deal should be reviewed by the next administration.

“I still maintain my position that the agreement should have been ratified by the Senate but it was not submitted to us so we did not have any means to review it,” he said.

He said while it will not be possible to rescind the deal at this point because its constitutionality had already been upheld by the Supreme Court, the deal should still be reviewed to make sure that we are not put at a disadvantage.

“Kailangan balikan iyan pero it is a signed deal already. Ngunit pwede pa naman natin balikan at tingnan ng mabuti ang operational effect nitong EDCA na kasama ng mga Amerikano,” he said.

He further stated that since the United States is an ally of the Philippines, it is highly possible that it would agree to review the deal and make clear some of the arrangements. “Pwede nating pag-usapan ito dahil kaibigan naman natin ang mga Amerikano to make sure we get the possible deal for the Filipinos and while they provide protection and some form of security, hindi masyado maliwanag sa EDCA kung ano ito at iyan ang dapat pag-usapan,” he said.

Marcos also questioned certain provisions in the agreement that disallows access to Filipino personnel. He also cited the need to clarify the kind of equipment that will be used in the exercises and the facilities that will be built by the Americans.

“Bakit may mga areas na hindi allowed ang Philippine personnel? Anong equipment ang dadalhin kasi sinasabi ng ating pamahalaan na marami tayong makukuha na bagong equipment? Marami silang itatayong mga bagong building so interesado ang lahat kung ano ang mga facilities na yun at kung anong equipment na dadalhin nila dyan,” Marcos pointed out.

In addition, the senator stated, there is also need to spell out the equipment that the Americans will leave behind as payment for the use of our bases. “Ano ang iiwan nila kasi hindi naman sila nagbabayad? Ano yung mga exchanges of technology, exchanges of different training exercises ng ating military? Hindi pa maliwanag yun,” he said.

Marcos was one of the senators who insisted that the EDCA should have been submitted to the Senate for ratification. The SC, voting 10-4, however voted to uphold its constitutionality saying it is just an implementing agreement of existing treaties like the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty.

But Marcos insisted that the EDCA is a treaty that should be ratified by the Senate as it not only increases the rotational presence of US military troops in the Philippines but opens the possibility of providing the Americans basing rights in the country.