Philippine Daily Inquirer - - REGIONS - TROPE —CARMELA REYES-ES-

De­fense Sec­re­tary Delfin Loren­zana on Tues­day broke ground for the con­struc­tion of a ware­house at Basa Air Base here to house equip­ment to be used in dis­as­ter re­sponse.

Called the Hu­man­i­tar­ian De­fense Re­sponse Ware­house, the fa­cil­ity is the first of five projects un­der the En­hanced De­fense Co­op­er­a­tion Agree­ment (Edca) be­tween the Philip­pines and the United States.

Strate­gic lo­ca­tion

Loren­zana said the ware­house would store 6 x 6 trucks, rub­ber boats, sev­eral fu­el­ing sta­tions and tents. It will also re­spond to the “evolv­ing se­cu­rity chal­lenges and pro­mote peace” in the Asian re­gion, he said.

Basa Air Base was se­lected be­cause of its strate­gic lo­ca­tion be­ing nearer to Metro Manila, he said.

Edca grants Amer­i­can troops to build in­stal­la­tions in se­lect ar­eas of the coun­try. It was signed in 2014 by then De­fense Sec­re­tary Voltaire Gazmin and his Amer­i­can coun­ter­part, and was de­clared con­sti­tu­tional in 2016 by the Supreme Court, which de­fined it as an ex­ec­u­tive agree­ment.

Not­ing that Edca high­lights the United States’ strong al­liance, shared val­ues and his­tory with the coun­try, Amer­i­can Am­bas­sador Sung Kim said all Edca fa­cil­i­ties would be un­der the con­trol of the Philip­pine mil­i­tary.

US sup­port

Kim said Edca could help strengthen se­cu­rity and im­prove hu­man­i­tar­ian re­sponse in Asia.

Loren­zana also de­scribed Edca as part of US sup­port to the Armed Forces of the Philip­pines’ mod­ern­iza­tion pro­gram. The ware­house will also serve as a de­fense com­mand con­trol cen­ter, ac­cord­ing to Maj. Gen. Galileo Kin­ta­nar Jr., chief of the Philip­pine Air Force.

FLORIDABLANCA, PAM­PANGA— De­fense Sec­re­tary Delfin Loren­zana (sec­ond from left) and US Am­bas­sador to the Philip­pines Sung Y. Kim (third from left) lead the ground­break­ing cer­e­mony for a mul­ti­pur­pose Hu­man­i­tar­ian De­fense Re­sponse Ware­house at Basa Air...

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