Considering the limited capabilities of Manila’s security forces, presumptive President and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte announces that he is not against the continuation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), a stipulation between the Philippines and the United States.
“I have no problem with EDCA-sanctioned use of Philippine military bases by US troops because we don't have good external defense capabilities,” Mayor Duterte said in a media interview.
A number of lawmakers say that the presumptive president can easily do away with the EDCA, since it is only an executive agreement and not a treaty which needs to be approved by the Senate.
Duterte has shown no sign that he is to scrap the said agreement.
The EDCA, which was signed on April 28, 2014, allows the US forces to maintain temporary conveniences and facilities in Philippine military bases. Although the agreement was questioned by several groups as they allege violation of Philippine sovereignty, the Supreme Court ruled that EDCA is a valid and constitutional executive agreement.
Such agreement was signed in order to counter China’s aggressive actuations in the South China Sea, asserting what it claimed as territorial rights. Other countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei are claiming rights as well.
Earlier this week US President Barack Obama called Duterte. Obama was the first foreign head of state to phone, Duterte told a reporter who was recording a TV interview with him when the call came through.
“I am quite honored,” he told the interviewer afterward, GMA News Online reported.
“I assured him that we will continue with out mutual interests and that we are allied with the Western (world)” on the South China Sea, but warned that if “there’s no wind to move the sail, I might opt to go bilateral.”