The United States and the Philippines aim to increase to ten (10), from five (5), the sites for the implementation of their Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) for better disaster response capability and joint training.
A senior U.S. defense official revealed this on Wednesday when visiting Filipino journalists asked about any update on the E.D.C.A. between Manila and Washington.
"There are five existing E.D.C.A. sites and five additional ones we are looking at," the same official said, who requested anonymity.
When asked about the location of the additional E.D.C.A. sites, the official said, "I don't think we have yet to name the additional sites. We are finalizing consultations on what the additional sites would be."
The official said the E.D.C.A., signed in 2014, "was a point of conversation" between U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin 3rd and Defense Senior Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. when they met in Hawaii recently.
The defense official said Mr. Austin and Mr. Faustino discussed "if we're going to accelerate investments in infrastructure at the five existing E.D.C.A. sites."
"Also that we would consult closely and look at the map for additional sites that could be added on to the Edca in the future," the official said.
"We need this agreement to move more quickly on funding and infrastructure support at the five Edca sites we have right now," the official said.