KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS: EDCA’s ‘sell-out’ provisions PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 04 May 2014 13:55

BY Atty. BATAS MAURICIO

 

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him…” (1 John 5:14-15, the Holy Bible).

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EDCA’S “SELL-OUT” PROVISIONS: As the Senate prepares to investigate the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States, it would do well for it to look into some specific provisions which, I believe, would turn out to be a “sell-out” in favor of Americans, to the overall damage and prejudice of Filipinos.

We will be reading these “sell-out” provisions here in this column in the next few days but, the first of these is found in EDCA’s Preamble, where adherence to a peaceful solution to “any international disputes in which (the US and the Philippines) maybe involved” is stressed, in accordance with the provisions of the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951.

This to me is a “sell-out” because, from that Preamble, there is absolutely no guarantee of any immediate US assistance or retaliatory action if the Philippines is attacked, even if EDCA already authorized the use by US forces of Philippine military camps and bases anywhere in the country. Why did we give out our camps and bases (called as “Agreed Locations” by EDCA) if the US is not going to come to our rescue right away?

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RP CAMPS & BASES TO BE USED BY U.S. FREE OF CHARGE: The second “sell-out” provision in EDCA is found in its Section 3, Art. III, where it is provided: “Given the mutuality of benefits (under the EDCA), the Parties agree that the Philippines shall make Agreed Locations available to the United States without rental or similar costs.”

This is of course preposterous because, in all its 12 articles, EDCA appears to have given no tangible benefit at all in favor of our country and our people. Why should we not collect rent or any other similar payment from the US when it is clear that it is making full and exclusive use of our military camps and bases, to the exclusion even of our own military authorities?

Then, EDCA exempts the United States from the payment of any taxes or similar charges for its use of water, electricity, and other public utilities, which all of us, Filipinos, are required to pay under regular monthly billings. What is even inexplicable here is that, these taxes and similar charges that the US should be paying for its water and electric consumption are to be paid by the Philippines instead, through our taxes, of course.

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US SOLELY FAVORED BY EDCA: What is more, under its Section 2, Art. VII, EDCA provides that the Philippines shall allow the US to use the country’s radio spectrum and to operate its own telecommunications system, to enable it to install communication linkages, again free of charge.

Then, insofar as the control and use of the Filipino camps and bases where the US will conduct its operations, it is clear likewise  that, under Section 3 of EDCA’s Art. VI, US forces have been granted “all rights and authorities within Agreed Locations that are necessary for their operational control or defense, including taking appropriate measures to protect United States forces and United States contractors…”

Finally, in putting up buildings and other improvements in the Filipino camps and bases for the use of United States forces, the US has the right to pick its own US contractors. And when the time comes for the US to leave those camps and bases, there is a provision that the US may require the Philippines to pay for those buildings and other improvements. Indeed, the US is heavily—or even solely—favored by EDCA.

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REMINDERS: Please tune in: “Tambalang Batas at Somintac sa DZEC”, at 1062 kHz on the AM band, Mondays to Fridays, at 6 a.m.; “Kakampi Mo Ang Batas sa Radyo Trabungko FM”, at 103.7 mHz in Don Carlos, Bukidnon, Mondays to Fridays, at 7 a.m.; and “Kakampi Mo Ang Batas sa DYKA” at 801 kHz on the AM band (Panay Island), Mondays to Fridays, at 10 a.m.