Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr (left) and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pose for photos prior to a meeting at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on Feb 2, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)
MANILA - The Philippines has granted the United States expanded access to its military bases, the countries said on Thursday.
Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement allows US access to Philippine military bases for joint training, pre-positioning of equipment and the building of facilities such as runways, fuel storage and military housing, but not a permanent presence
According to statements from the defense ministries of both countries, Washington would be given access to four more locations under an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) dating back to 2014.
The United States had allocated more than $82 million toward infrastructure investments at the existing five sites under the EDCA, according to the statements.
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EDCA allows US access to Philippine military bases for joint training, pre-positioning of equipment and the building of facilities such as runways, fuel storage and military housing, but not a permanent presence.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was in Manila for talks as Washington seeks to extend its security options in the Philippines.
The statements did not specify where the new locations would be. The former Philippine military chief said previously the United States had requested access to bases on the northern land mass of Luzon, and on the island of Palawan.
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Austin also met Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr at the presidential palace on Thursday before meeting with his counterpart Carlito Galvez.
His visit follows a three-day trip by US Vice-President Kamala Harris to the Philippines in November which included a stop on Palawan.
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