The Philippines is set to upgrade military bases as part of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United States, established in 2014. This agreement facilitates American funding for the improvement and construction of facilities within Philippine military bases and the rotational deployment of U.S. troops. Notable projects include airstrip repairs at Naval Base Camilo Osias and the construction of a fuel storage facility and command center at Lal-Lo Airport. The expansion has included five initial bases and added four more in 2023, some of which are strategically located near the South China Sea, raising concerns from China due to their proximity to Taiwan.
China criticizes the EDCA’s base locations, viewing them as part of U.S. efforts to encircle and contain its influence, particularly due to their closeness to Taiwan. Local opposition in the Philippines has also surfaced, with concerns that military exercises could provoke China and bring conflict closer to the Philippines. Meanwhile, the U.S. and the Philippines plan to continue their cooperation, focusing on countering China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.