Cagayan, Isabela governors not keen on hosting EDCA sites

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 3) — At least two governors have expressed reservations over the possibility that their provinces will be included in the list of new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites, where US forces will be stationed on a rotational basis.

Defense officials have yet to announce the locations, but Cagayan and Isabela - both facing China, Taiwan, and the Korean Peninsula - were being considered.

READ: PH, US agree to boost American military presence, create 4 new EDCA sites

"I told them that I don't want any part of the province to be used for any offensive against any nation, near to us. We do not want to quarrel with our neighbors," Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said Friday.

Isabela Governor Rodolfo Albano III, meanwhile, questioned the move - citing Manila's relationship with Beijing.

"Maganda relationship natin with China na ngayon di ba? Bakit natin pasasamain yung relationship natin with them? Wala naman silang ginagawa sa atin, di ba?" Albano argued.

[Translation: We have good ties with China, right? Why would we tarnish that? They haven't done anything to us, have they?]

Both Mamba and Albano also said they and their constituents have not yet been consulted by the Defense Department.

Defense chief Carlito Galvez earlier said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had ordered the agency to collaborate with the provinces' local governments and communities.

"I will have to follow the president's policy with regards to that. Kung ano yung gusto ng presidente. Pero (Whatever the president wants, but) we have to consult also our constituency," Albano said.

"I have my personal stand on the issue but syempre [of course], we have to consult people also on what is best for our province," Mamba added.

CNN Philippines Senior Correspondent David Santos contributed to this report.