Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. says the locations of four new military bases that will house a rotating crew of Americans will soon be revealed.
Marcos told reporters in Manila Wednesday that some of the new sites will be in the northern and southern Philippines and western Palawan province.
Philippines President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. delivers a speech on the 126th founding anniversary of the Philippines army at Fort Bonifacio, in Taguig, Philippines, March 22, 2023.
The president also said sites will boost the country’s ability to defend its eastern coast, including the coastline of its largest island, Luzon, which is the closest Philippine island to Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing claims is part of China.
The expansion is part of the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which includes five existing sites.
The expansion of the agreement comes as the two longtime allies seek to counter China’s increasing assertiveness toward Taiwan and Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea.
Beijing has accused Washington of endangering “regional peace and stability” with its increasing military presence in the Philippines.
The new bases are also opposed by some local Philippine officials, who fear the new EDCA sites will put them at the center of a potential armed conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan.
Marcos says he has spoken with local officials about the importance of the new bases and “why it will actually be good for their provinces.”