OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines -– Administration standard bearer Mar Roxas on Tuesday said that he would continue the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) if elected president and added that he would welcome other such treaties with other friendly nations in order to defend Philippine patrimony.
In an interview during a campaign sortie held in Olongapo City, Roxas said that while he favors EDCA, he would definitely not allow the establishment of permanent American bases in the country.
Signed in May 2104, EDCA is a supplemental agreement to the Visiting Forces Agreement between the United States and the Philippines intended to bolster U.S.–Philippine alliance.
The agreement allows American troops to rotate troops into the Philippines for extended stays and allows the U.S. to build and operate facilities on Philippine bases, for both American and Philippine forces.
“Importante na nakasandal tayo sa security umbrella ng malalaking mga bansa, dahil katunggali natin ang malaking bansa na Tsina, isang nuclear power, dito sa ating hidwaan sa West Philippine Sea,” Roxas said.
He cited how Zambales fishermen are being deprived of their livelihood as they are being constantly harassed by Chinese ships in the disputed waters.
With China aggressively asserting its claims over a large swath of the West Philippine Sea, the Team Daang Matuwid presidential bet said that he would welcome similar treaties like EDCA.
“Para sa akin, dedepensahan ko ang ating karapatan. Dedepensahan ko ang integridad ng lupa at teritoryo ng Pilipinas, at papasok ako sa mga treaties or sa mga kasunduan para lalong lumakas ang ating pagdepensa ng ating teritoryo,” Roxas said. Cielito Reganit / PNA / northboundasia.com