Source: U.S. Navy, Ignacio D. Perez

MANILA, Philippines — The United States government is expecting that the Supreme Court of the Philippines could finally make a decision about the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States.

A former chief of the U.S. Pacific Command said that the approval of the deal will boost the Philippines’ maritime security as Beijing continues to build artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea.

Samuel Locklear, a retired Admiral said that the deal known as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), with the $79 million in military funding coming from the U.S. will focus on boosting the Philippine maritime domain awareness.

The agreement has been pending before the Philippine Supreme Court for over a year due to questions on its constitutionality.

“Should the people of the Philippines and your court decide to go forward with the EDCA, what it does is provide a strengthening of the alliance for the 21st century,” Locklear said in an interview with Rappler.

“You’re a country of over 7,000 islands, a huge archipelago and vast potential EEZs (exclusive economic zones) to have to police and manage. The Filipino Navy and coast guard have a way to go to realize the type of capacity they need to be able to defend such a large area so I think that’s primarily where we’d be,” he added.

United States will start building military infrastructures inside Philippine military bases, once the EDCA is signed, it will accomodate U.S. troops and it military arsenals.

The EDCA is an agreement between the Philippines and the United States which is envisioned to advance the implementation of the Philippine-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) -John Esconde