(Updated) US-Ph Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, full text please, guide for reporters (first posted at 11:40am)
The full text of the US-Ph Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement has not been officially uploaded in any government site even after it has been signed. The negotiations were shrouded in secrecy and no one was ever given a copy – not even the Senate President or the Speaker of the House or any defense committee member of both houses. Perhaps the first order of business is to upload the official copy.
Based on the speeches and the DFA-released “30 Questions on the Pact” published by interaksyon.com , the agreement allows U.S. military troops, ships, and aircraft full access to military bases in the Philippines – FOR FREE. (Even the dictator Marcos charged rent for the rejected U.S. military bases; euphemistically called military aid by the U.S. government. At least, charging rent was an act of sovereignty and ownership.)
The U.S. government will also be allowed to construct facilities and infrastructure on said bases, upon consent of the Military Defense Board, according to the DFA-released primer. This means the U.S. military will be occupying and be in full, actual possession of those bases or parts of those bases covered by the agreement. For ten years. The agreement is for ten years. Libre din po iyon, walang bayad, no additional contracts or agreements — they will just do some construction there as allowed by the EDCA. An inexperienced lawyer in a new law office in Binondo would have negotiated a better deal.
Construction of facilities and infrastructure on the land is actual and full possession of the land, stupid. This is also in actual and full violation of Art. 18, Sec. 25 of the 1987 Constitution which states that: “After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military Bases, foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate xxx and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State” (underscoring supplied) — the EDCA being a mere executive agreement signed by the Philippine Defense Secretary and the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines.
The EDCA also allows the storage of weapons not under our control, as follows: (DFA-released 30 questions and answers on the pact) “3. How will these objectives be achieved? We are currently holding joint training exercises xxx . To improve on the above, we intend to undertake additional cooperation by way of (1) Construction of facilities and infrastructure upgrades; and (2) Storage and prepositioning of defense and HADR equipment, supplies, and materiél. 4. Where will the construction and prepositioning take place? These will take place in designated areas within a few AFP bases to be agreed upon by both Parties. xxx”
(to be continued, i’m waiting for the official copy to be uploaded)