EDCA impact on security to be tackled next week

By Jaime Laude

MANILA, Philippines – Top defense and security analysts here and abroad will tackle in a forum next week the impact of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States on security in the Asia-Pacific region.

Organized by Dindo Manhit, president of think tank Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute (ADRi), the forum will be held at the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) on Tuesday morning.

Former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario and Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino will attend the event.

In a press statement, Manhit said the event, “Asia-Pacific Perspective on Implementing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement,” would feature representatives from the country’s Departments of National Defense and Foreign Affairs (DFA) who will share their insights on the bilateral strategic dialogue that took place in Washington early this year.

He said a panel of representatives from non-government sectors here, in Japan, the US and Australia will be giving their feedback on the agreement.

Their feedback will then serve as a jump-off point for discussions, including the progress in its implementation and its effects on areas of cooperation in the region.

Other speakers are DFA Undersecretary for American Affairs Maria Andrelita Austria; Renato de Castro, convenor of the National Security and East Asian Affairs Program of ADRi; Ernest Bower and Gregory Poling of the US-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies; Lisa Sharland, senior analyst of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and professor Katsuyuki Yakushiji of Toyo University in Japan.

Other representatives from government agencies, the diplomatic corps, academe and business are expected to share their insights on the possible scenarios arising from the implementation of the EDCA.

Last January, the Supreme Court, after more than two years of delay, finally upheld the constitutionality of EDCA, allowing the increased presence of US forces and their equipment on rotation basis in the Philippines.

Under the agreement, US troops are allowed to position equipment inside pre-agreed key military facilities of the Armed Forces in Cagayan de Oro City, Palawan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Zambales and Metro Manila.

Most of these areas where the US troops are based are located near the South China Sea, the source of regional tension due to China’s massive maritime claim to almost the entire region.

Originally posted on The Philippine Star

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