US building $2-M fuel depot at Mactan airbase

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Cebu (CNN Philippines, May 20) — The United States government is putting up a $2-million - roughly P111 million – fuel depot at the Mactan-Benito Ebuen Airbase in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, one of the existing sites under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson on Friday told reporters that the construction of the fuel depot is expected to be finished by October. Currently, it is estimated to be "28% complete."

"We (US Government) are investing money to build a fuel depot, two large tanks," Carlson said. "Huge tanks will be positioned there so that it will enhance the ability of Philippine aircraft to come in and refuel."

The envoy said the fuel depot -- which can store around 40,000 liters of fuel, enough to refuel around 10 C-130 planes -- will be used primarily to "enhance the interoperability of the Philippine Air Force and its partners considering the strategic location of the Mactan Island."

"This is a Philippine military base so the authorities, the Philippine Air Force determine who can fuel up there," she said.

"When that site is completed, it enhances the interoperability between US forces and Philippine forces but that site belongs to the Philippines," she added. "There is nothing right there that belongs to the United States."

Carlson is in Cebu for three days for several activities, including a meeting with Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia and other key local officials.

It is the first time for the US ambassador to visit Cebu since she assumed her post in July 2022.