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The U.S. and Philippines Expand Their Cooperation

(FILE) U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III walks past military guards in the Philippines.

To date, the United States has allocated over $82 million toward infrastructure investments under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

U.S. and Philippines Expand Their Cooperation
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The United States and the Philippines have been treaty allies since 1951. Now their alliance is expanding and getting stronger.

Earlier this month, the Philippines and the United States announced plans to deepen cooperation under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. The EDCA, as it is called, is a key pillar of the U.S.-Philippine treaty alliance, and supports combined training, exercise, and interoperability, and reflects the Philippines’ and United States’ shared commitment to maintaining regional order.

The two nations announced that four additional EDCA sites in strategic areas of the Philippines will be added to the five current locations, and that there will be “substantial completion of the projects” in the existing five sites. To date, the United States has allocated over $82 million toward infrastructure investments under the EDCA, thereby supporting economic growth and job creation in local Philippine communities.

During a February 2 joint press briefing in Manila on the occasion of the visit of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Philippine Secretary of National Defense Carlito Galvez set out priority areas for the alliance, including “the full implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.” Secretary Galvez noted his discussions with Secretary Austin to “further strengthen our nations' collaborative efforts in addressing pressing security threats in the region, as well as effectively dealing with the natural disasters caused by climate change, a major global concern we need to confront head-on.”

Secretary of Defense Austin, in turn, emphasized that EDCA is a cooperative agreement that enables rotational activities so that the two countries can respond to collective challenges more effectively.

Secretary Austin pointed out that enhanced cooperation, including in modernizing the Philippine’s military capabilities, will help “to address destabilizing activities in the waters surrounding the Philippines.…These efforts are especially important as the People’s Republic of China continues to advance its illegitimate claims in the West Philippine Sea.”

“Our alliance makes both of our democracies more secure and helps uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Secretary of Defense Austin said. “I am confident that we will continue to work together to defend our shared values of freedom, democracy, and human dignity.”