Monday April 28, 2014 — Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg and Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin signed the Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation (EDCA).
The U.S. –Philippine alliance, underpinned by the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines (MDT), has been a key aspect of security and stability in the region for the last six decades. In furtherance of the MDT and the Agreement Regarding the Treatment of United States Forces Visiting the Philippines (VFA), the EDCA establishes a framework through which both the Philippines and the United States will approach the security challenges of the region into the 21st century.
As Ambassador Goldberg noted, “The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, serves as recognition that there is even more we can do together to support the alliance and promote peace and security in the region.”
Subject to the mutual agreement of the parties, the EDCA will allow for the enhanced rotational presence of U.S. forces at agreed locations in the Philippines. This will increase training opportunities for U.S. and Philippine forces, which will contribute to increased interoperability and a greater ability to jointly respond to humanitarian crises that impact the Philippines, such as typhoon Yolanda. It will also allow the joint development of agreed locations to support the shared goal of promoting the long-term modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and will help the AFP maintain and develop additional maritime security, maritime domain awareness, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities.
The EDCA affirms the understanding that the United States will not establish a permanent military presence or base in the territory of the Philippines.
Once it enters into force, U.S. and Philippine officials will work through existing bilateral security mechanisms, such as the Mutual Defense Board and the Security Engagement Board (MDB/SEB), to operationalize the Agreement.