Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippines’ Supreme Court on January 12 declared a security deal with the United States constitutional, allowing an increased US military presence in the country.

The Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), inked in 2014 with a 10-year lifespan, has yet to be actualised due to legal challenges.

It will allow US troops to build facilities to store fuel and equipment for maritime security, in addition to broad access to Philippine military bases.

The court’s spokesman Theodore Te said President Benigno Aquino’s Government had the authority to sign the pact and did not need congressional approval.

The pact “is a mere implementation of existing laws and treaties,” Te said.

The court said the deal is not a tool that allows the US to bring army or equipment into the Philippines’ territory.

The US immediately welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the EDCA, saying the deal would benefit both sides.

The agreement was signed in April 2014 during the US President Barack Obama’s visit to Manila.-VNA