NORTHERN Luzon Command head, Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio Ca–tapang, said that Fort Magsaysay, the largest military reservation and facility under his command, can be made available to American forces once the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDC) is finalized.
“We can make available Fort Magsaysay (in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija) for them once the (EDC) is finalized,” he said in Filipino.
Catapang added that the 45,000 hectares base, the largest military facility in the Philippines, is more than adequate to handle US troops and their equipment.
“They can adequately place their equipment there and train there,” he said.
He also stressed that what makes Fort Magsaysay more useful is that it is very near and accessible to Northern Luzon Command headquarters in Tarlac.
Aside from this, Fort Magsaysay is also near Dingalan Bay which is owned by the 7th Infantry Division, one of the Filipino units based in the facility.
“It’s a six-kilometer beach frontage (property) and that area can be also used for naval maneuvers,” Catapang stressed.
The 7th round of the EDC talks was concluded last March 27, with both Filipino and American panels claiming significant progress.
In the agreed minutes, both the Philippine and United States negotiating panels described the discussions as “open and substantive” and achieved “further progress.”
The two sides reached consensus on a number of additional provisions.