Lawmaker, governor suggest use of Surigao del Norte as EDCA site

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 16) — Surigao del Norte's governor and House Representative are offering their province as a possible Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) site, citing its "distinct advantage" for the United States and Armed Forces of the Philippines.

In a statement, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers and brother Gov. Lyndon Barbers said they are inviting the military to inspect the province situated on the northeastern tip of Mindanao, and consider adding an EDCA site.

"It has a distinct advantage as it is openly facing the Pacific Ocean yet has an outlet to the West Philippine Sea. The ships can traverse the country from East to West and vice-versa without needing to circle around. This is a very strategic advantage," Rep. Barbers said.

"Setting up an EDCA base would benefit not only the province but the whole eastern regions of the Visayas and Mindanao," Gov. Barbers added.

They said the province will also benefit from "economic prosperity," adding that residents will "have nothing to worry about" as the military presence would "discourage any hostile activity."

A US military official earlier said Manila and Washington are looking into the possibility of creating new EDCA sites in the Philippines on top of the existing nine. 

The establishment of four new EDCA sites earlier this year enraged China, which accused the US of endangering peace in the Indo-Pacific region. Beijing added that the western superpower would use the EDCA sites to interfere with China's operations in the Taiwan Strait.