Edca resurrects US meddling in PH | Inquirer Opinion

Edca resurrects US meddling in PH

12:03 AM May 15, 2014

The May 3 issue of the Inquirer carried the amateurish defense of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) by Defense Undersecretary Pio Batino, head of the negotiation panel for the Philippines. Amateurish as it was, I was able to glean from Batino’s statements that Subic, at present a civilian facility, will become the base of the few jet fighters that the Philippines is acquiring from South Korea. This will give Subic the distinction as a military base and as such, it can now be accessed unimpeded by the US military forces, something not allowed by the 1987 Constitution nor by the existing Mutual Defense Treaty.

The 1987 Constitution envisioned the termination of the Military Bases Agreement (MBA) that was to expire in 1991. When 1991 came, the Senate finally wrote finis to the MBA by rejecting a new treaty to replace it.


Yet some bright boys of the Ramos administration came out with the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), an agreement allowing a limited number of American soldiers to be stationed in the Philippines, on rotational basis, for joint civil-military exercises.

Today, some brighter boys, this time from the Aquino administration, on their own, without consulting the political branches of government, and in utmost secrecy, signed a defense agreement with the United States which they labeled as only an agreement and not a treaty because it is not political in nature. Treaty or not, and believe it or not, the agreement will provide a security umbrella to the Philippines while we develop our capability for self-defense.


But in the May 4 issue of the Inquirer, former senator Joker Arroyo came out with a vigorous and professional critique of the Edca, saying, among others that “the Philippines is caught in a high stakes, strategic poker game between the US and China” and that “a wrong move on our part would involve incalculable damage to.” I may add that we have become an area of operations for al Qaida, a terroristic group that targets any concentration of US personnel anywhere in the world.

In Randy David’s May 4 column, I sensed his sentiment against the Edca when he said: “Indeed, the Americans have no need to build any bases; we have offered to accommodate them in our own camps.”

There is no doubt that many good things will come our way as a result of this agreement, but this I believe: The best thing America can do to us is to let us go seek our way in the world. The best thing that we, Filipinos, can do to ourselves is to grow up and take control of our destiny.

We are a free people. We want to be free.


retired lieutenant general, AFP,

[email protected]

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TAGS: 1987 Constitution, Edca, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, mutual defense treaty, Pio Batino, South Korea, Subic
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