- Defense chief said president greenlighting bringing of US equipment in the country
- He said Duterte to continue to allow EDCA as long as Americans do not stockpile weapons
- He also clarified existence of so-called arms depots, says US has yet to start building temporary camps
MANILA, Philippines – The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) is still on.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said President Rodrigo Duterte has decided not to cancel the country’s agreement with the US — on the condition they do not stockpile weapons in the country.
“I actually asked his decision kung ituloy natin yung EDCA or not. Sabi niya, ‘Ituloy natin pero be sure na walang stockpiling ng mga ammunition d’yan,'” the Philippine Star quoted him as saying.
[I actually asked his decision if he wants to continue the EDCA or not. He said ‘Let’s continue it but be sure there will be no stockpiling of ammunition.’]
According to Lorenzana, he explained to Duterte that most of the equipment the Americans are bringing into the country are for humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.
“Most of the equipment they will be bringing here are for humanitarian assistance and disaster response. They are strategically located around the country,” he said.
Lorenzana added he also clarified to the president the matter of the Americans’ so-called arms depots being claimed by the latter.
“Ewan ko kung saan nakuha ni presidente ‘yung information niya but I corrected it. I talked to him sabi ko, ‘Mr. President, first there was no construction yet sa mga EDCA camps. Wala pa. It will be constructed some time later this year or next year,'” he said.
[I don’t know where the president got his information but I corrected it. I talked to him and said ‘Mr. President, first there was no construction yet of EDCA camps. Not yet. None as yet. It will be constructed some time later this year or next year.’]