The Philippines and the US on April 28 signed a 10-year defence pact that will allow American forces to expand their rotational presence in the country and have greater access to Filipino bases.

The move demonstrates the US’s commitment to boosting economic and military cooperation with Asia.

The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) was signed by Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg, a few hours before the expected arrival of US President Barack Obama in the country for a State visit.

The document was dubbed as a framework agreement. Many details, including the size and duration of the US military presence, will be discussed later.

President Obama reiterated the US’ commitments to the Philippines in an interview with ABS-CBN News, adding that the greater cooperation between the two forces would enhance their ability to train, exercise and operate with each other and respond faster to a number of challenges.

Filipino facilities will remain under the control of the Philippines and US forces will rotate in and out for joint training operations, but will not be based there, the President said.

The Philippines is the final stop of Obama’s week-long Asia tour, a trip aimed at reaffirming US defence commitments and bolstering relations with allies in the region.-VNA