US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson, in a press conference Friday, May 19, 2023, told reporters that the construction of the facility is already 28 percent complete and is scheduled for completion either in September or October this year.
“What we are specifically doing at the Mactan Airbase is that we are investing money to build a fuel depot. Two large tanks will be positioned there that will enhance the ability of Philippine aircraft to come in and refuel. That is the specific Edca site within the Mactan Airbase that we are working in conjunction with Philippine-US militaries,” said Carlson, who was in Cebu for a three-day visit.
She said it is the Philippine air force that will determine who can fuel up in the facility.
“This fuel depot was identified as a need in the Philippines for refueling to get to the north to south, east to west…Once that site is completed, it will enhance the interoperability between US forces and PH forces, but that site belongs to the Philippines,” the envoy clarified.
Edca, which was established in 2014, is a supplemental agreement to the previous Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the US allowing American troops to access Philippine bases for joint training, pre-positioning of equipment and establishment of facilities.
Besides Mactan-Benito Abuen Air Base, other four existing Edca sites are Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Basa Air Base in Pampanga, Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, and Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro City.
Four new Edca sites have also been identified in Naval Base Camilo Osias in Sta. Ana, Cagayan; Lal-lo Airport in Lal-lo, Cagayan; Camp Melchor dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela and Balabac Island in Palawan. (KOC)