EDCA to deter
aggression, boost disaster response capabilities, help GPH attain
By OVP Media
May 2, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. –
Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said today the new defense cooperation
agreement the Philippines entered into with the United States will not
only deter aggressors and provide a quick response mechanism to
disasters but will also help the Government achieve its goal of
improving the lives of the Filipino people.
Speaking before the Banyan
Tree Leadership Forum at the Center for Strategic and International
Studies (CSIS) here, the Vice President said the Enhanced Defense
Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that was signed in Manila on Monday is an
important pillar of the country’s regional security policy as well as
an effective response mechanism to humanitarian and natural disasters.
“A stronger American
military presence in the Philippines and greater interoperability
between our respective armed forces dramatically increases our
individual and collective defense capabilities, providing a dramatic
deterrent against external aggression,” the Vice President told his
audience that included diplomats, business leaders and members of the
“Through the EDCA, we have
effectively upgraded our own security platform, without shifting a
significant portion of our limited resources to support an arms race
and procure weapons systems that exceed our normal defense
requirements,” he said.
“It will soothe and calm the
investment climate in the Philippines. It enables us to focus better
on developing a solid economic base to combat poverty, unemployment,
illiteracy and disease.”
Vice President Binay also
pointed out that EDCA does not signal a shift in the Manila’s core
strategy for regional security. “We have always believed and will
continue to hold ourselves to the principle that the future of mankind
lies not in conflict nor war, but in dialogue, cooperation,
development and peace,” he said.
The Vice President said the
Philippines will continue to pursue a peaceful solution to the
disputes in the South China Sea by opting for arbitration as provided
for in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
and supporting efforts towards the conclusion of a binding Code of
Conduct between ASEAN and China.
“Let me stress, nonetheless,
that our support for EDCA does not reflect a freezing of ties with
China. Nor do we view the disputes in the South China Sea as the
totality of our bilateral relations with China,” he said, citing the
increase in trade with Beijing that made it the country’s largest
trading partner as well as the historic and people-to-people ties.
“In the end, trade, as well
as the deep filial ties that bind our peoples will prevail over the
issues of territory and boundaries that are currently threatening our
relationship,” the Vice President said.
In his speech, Vice
President Binay also said the Philippines must further liberalize its
economy to improve the country’s competitiveness and allow it to
attract local and foreign investments in manufacturing and other
“We must harmonize local and
national laws to ensure investors of orderly business operations,” he
said. “We must cure the policy and infrastructure misalignments that
emerge as we cascade our gains to the grassroots.”
He said a true open skies
policy with an aggressive airport development program must be
undertaken alongside reforms in the electric power industry as well as
the modernization of the agriculture sector.
“And we must keep our
promise to maintain a clean and transparent government with a stable
policy regime into 2016 and beyond,” he told his audience.