News Release

Biden seeks $128-M budget for EDCA projects

US President Joe Biden is seeking $128 million in congressional allocation budget to execute projects for Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites in the Philippines, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday (local time).

“President Biden’s new pleasant request seeks 128 million dollars to execute 36 projects and enhance defense cooperation agreement size and that would more than double the amount that we’ve invested in EDCA infrastructure,” Austin said.

Austin made the remarks during his meeting with President Marcos in Pentagon, a day after his trilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden and Japan Prime Minister Kishida Fumio on Thursday afternoon (local time) in Washington, DC.

“All these underscore the strength of our alliances further, and so I look forward to hearing your views on how we can keep working together more closely than ever, including through cooperation with like-minded partners,” he added.

Both countries, the US defense chief said, have invested significant time and resources to address shared security challenges, as he promised to keep building such partnership.

He also reiterated President Biden’s assurance on the US’ commitment to the defense of the Philippines, which he described as ironclad, stressing an armed attack on the Philippine Armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific, including South China Sea will invoke US defense commitments to the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

The EDCA is an instrument signed between the Philippines and the US in 2014, deepening defense cooperation and advancing the implementation of the MDT.

This will be done by addressing capability gaps, particularly in humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR), promoting modernization and interoperability, and helping develop maritime security and maritime domain awareness.

In 2016, the Philippines and the US agreed on five initial sites on which both sides will construct facilities and preposition equipment.

The selection of the EDCA sites is in accordance with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Strategic Basing Plan.

The identified sites are Philippine military bases to be further developed based on the strategic requirements for the basing and development of the AFP. |PND