The Marcos administration has been misleading Filipinos on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) by letting the United States dictate the terms, the militant group Bayan Muna said on Sunday.
The EDCA expansion has allowed the creation of four new US troop bases in the Philippines on top of the existing five.
Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares cited two articles of the EDCA that are allegedly disadvantageous to the Philippines.
According to Article 4, “the prepositioned materiel of the US forcesshall be for the exclusive use of the US forces, and full title to all such equipment, supplies and materiel remains with the US. US forces shall have control over the access to and disposition of such prepositioned materiel.”
Colmenares pointed out that Article 4 lets the US store weapons, ammunition, and equipment in the Philippines, but the country has no say on these.
“It is noteworthy, that the US retained ‘control over the access and disposition’ of these materiel and the Filipinos could not access these highly sensitive and classified ‘prepositioned materiel.’ We cannot even monitor if they have chemical or nuclear weapons in these storage depots,” he added.
He also questioned Article 3, which lays out the terms on land access.
“When requested, the Designated Authority of the Philippines shall assist in facilitating transit or temporary access by United States forces to public land and facilities (including roads, ports, and airfields), including those owned or controlled by local governments, and to other land and facilities (including roads, ports, and airfields),” Article 3 reads.
Colmenares also warned that local government units (LGUs) and communities would be forced to allow the entry of US forces and dangerous military materiel without consultation.
He pointed out that under Article 3, “the US forces are given access to public lands and facilities of the national government; public lands and facilities of the LGUs; and other lands and facilities which definitely include those owned by private individuals.”
“This paragraph grants access to practically any land, road, airport or port in the entire country, whether rural areas, urban areas, forest or plane including private property,” Colmenares added.
“It appears that Año is deceiving the people by saying that the Marcos government chose the additional EDCA sites. It is also apparent that LGUs opposing this, like Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba, are being pressured to follow and accept the terms of US under EDCA,” he said.