US, PH military officials visit EDCA sites ahead of annual meeting

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 14) — Military officials from the Philippines and the United States visited three sites created under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) on Wednesday.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Brawner was accompanied by US Indo-Pacific Command commander Admiral John Aquilino, and US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson.

The officials went to Lallo International Airport and Camilio Osias naval base, both located in Cagayan province.

They also inspected Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga, which is among the previous five EDCA sites.

READ: Palace unveils 4 new EDCA sites

Military leaders of both countries will have a Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board meeting at the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday.

They will tackle, among others, the creation of various programs to strengthen the relationship between the two countries, joint exercises, and emergency response programs.

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said in August that the four new EDCA sites will "likely to be operational" in a year's time.

He added that the US has not expressed any interest so far to add more EDCA sites, but the agreement remains open.

With reports from CNN Senior correspondent David Santos.