In a recent press briefing, the United States clarified how they will use Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) to support Philippines in terms of disaster response and external threats.
“We have a determination and commitment to help, but we want to extend the capacity of our individual partners, and the collective capacity of the countries in the region to respond,” said US State Department Assistant Secretary Daniel R. Russel. The ASec is focused on Asian and Pacific Affairs.
One of the main goal of this enhanced agreement is to increase the level of domain awareness for Philippines to have a better view of what is happening inside the country’s territorial waters and in its periphery.
Another part of the agreement is the pre-positioning of equipment and developing standard operating procedures of US and Philippines to ensure both countries are operating according to the same methodologies and help eliminate a lot of confusion.
According to Russel, US is not seeking stand-alone bases, “to the extent that facilities will be provided, those will be the facilities of the Philippines. And the access that will be provided to the U.S. personnel will be done in a way that is fully consistent with the laws and the preferences of the government in the Philippines.”
“The essence of the U.S. approach throughout Southeast Asia is to support the capacity of the countries there themselves, adequately, to respond in the first instance to a variety of disasters and crises.”