In the event of doubts about its objectives, Article 1 of the agreement aims to ensure that both parties can meet their obligations under the 1951 Treaty on Mutual Defence, “their individual and collective ability to resist, maintain and develop armed attacks”. The only state actor to threaten an armed attack against the Philippines or the Philippine armed forces is China in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. The common perception of a Chinese threat to Philippine and ultimately international interests in the South China Sea is clearly at the heart of the agreement. Article 1 added that EDCA will focus on more than a century and that the Philippines has been important to the U.S. defense strategy. Currently, the Philippines is a “great non-NATO ally” of the United States.  Article XII contains provisions relating to entry into force, amendment, duration and termination. The ECDA will come into force when diplomatic notes are exchanged. Any annex to the EDCA will be an integral part of the agreement. Mr. Adm. Phil Davidson, the designated head of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), last month gave written responses to the Senate Armed Services Committee for more details on the implementation of the agreement.
The admiral said that PACOM would follow the construction projects in Basa, Lumbia and Magsaysay in the GJ18 and the Fy19. These include the humanitarian and disaster relief camp, as well as a commando and fusion control centre in Basa. The construction of Lumbia and Magsaysay will likely follow the same footprint as humanitarian aid and disaster relief storage. Fuel tanks are also to be expected at both air bases, as Padilla said last year. But there is no indication to date that barracks, hangars, storage of other defense equipment and equipment or any of the other infrastructure supporting a robust U.S. rotation presence at all three sites will be permitted. The EDCA was the result of eight rounds of negotiations that began in August 2013. According to Albert del Rosario, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, it was originally titled “Framework Agreement on the Presence of Enhanced Rotation.” The title change reflects the desire of the Philippines and the United States to conclude a broader agreement covering all enhanced defence cooperation. Increasing the rotary presence is only one way of enhanced defence cooperation. In January 2017, Lorenzana said the U.S.
would prioritize work in Basa, followed by Antonio Bautista and Lumbia Air Bases, with construction on all three expected to begin this year. The first two made perfect sense in light of the EDCA`s original stated objectives, which focused on modernizing the Philippine armed forces, joint training, maritime security and field awareness, as well as humanitarian and disaster relief. Lumbia, the only EDCA site of the restless Mindanao, could also, through the agreement, promote cooperation in the fight against terrorism – increasingly relevant after the siege of Marawi and one of manila`s main objectives. The secretary confirmed that the United States would improve the runway, build housing for troops and build warehouses for equipment that would eventually be transferred to the Philippine military. The EDCA is in force for an initial period of ten years and applies automatically thereafter, unless it is terminated by either of the contracting parties by a one-year written notification by diplomatic means of its intention to denounce the agreement (Article XII, Article 4 EDCA). While U.S. forces can exercise operational control, deploy troops and equipment, build facilities and be housed in some agreed locations, the Philippines retains ownership of the agreed sites (Article V, Sec).