US not seeking permanent military bases in PH — Pentagon

Following the announcement of more Philippines sites where US troops would have access to, Washington said it was not seeking to establish permanent military bases in the country.

Sabrina Singh, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary, said that while the public should expect an "increase of rotation forces," the US was "not seeking permanent basing" because the expansion of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites is more on "supporting combined training" as well as "being able to respond to natural disaster" and humanitarian disasters in the region.

"This is really about regional readiness," Singh said in a press briefing on April 3 (US time).

As China continues to be aggressive in the Indo-Pacific, several critics said three of the four new sites are strategically located near Taiwan. But Singh shrugged off the coincidence and said "this is an arrangement that we have with the Philippines that goes back many years."

"[It] is an investment in our cooperation with the Philippines in order to better—for better interoperability," she said.

With US allotting $ 82 million and more for infrastructure development at its EDCA sites, Singh said part of Washington's projects for EDCA would be airport expansions, as well as development of areas to further the training of both countries' troops and naval assets.

"But I think what's most important is that the expansion of EDCA just makes our training with the Philippines just more resilient. It is about creating regional readiness, but also being able to respond to any type of disaster or any type of humanitarian disaster that could arise in the region," she said.