Philippines not to allow 'offensive actions' on bases offered to US
This comes shortly after announcing the location of four additional military bases to be used by US troops.
President Ferdinand Marcos on Monday stated that the Philippines will not allow "any offensive actions" from the bases it has made available to US forces.
The locations of four additional military bases, and another not far from Taiwan -- agreed upon under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) of 2014 -- were revealed by Manila last week.
The 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, known as EDCA, provided the US forces access to five bases in the Philippines.
It was increased to nine, but until April 3, the locations of the four new bases were kept secret while the government conferred with local authorities.
At the time, the Presidential Communications Office issued a statement stating that the four sites had been examined by the Philippine military and found to be "suitable and mutually beneficial." It added that the bases would be used for humanitarian and relief operations during disasters.
Moreover, a US official confirmed that the locations announced by the palace were the new EDCA sites. The statement said three of the sites are in the northern Philippines, including a naval base and airport in Cagayan province and an army camp in the neighboring province of Isabela.
The agreement permits the rotation of US soldiers through the bases, as well as the storage of defense supplies and equipment there.
The agreement has drawn criticism from Beijing, which recently claimed that it was a result of "US efforts to encircle and contain China through its military alliance with this country," its embassy in the Philippines said.
Marcos said China's reaction over the expanded military deal was "not surprising" but assured them that the Philippines is only shoring up its territorial defense.
"We will not allow our bases to be used for any offensive actions. This is only aimed at helping the Philippines whenever we need help," Marcos told reporters.
"If no one is attacking us, they need not worry because we will not fight them," he added.
Under former President Rodrigo Duterte, who favored stronger ties with China, the agreement stalled.
Marcos, who took over for Duterte in June, opted for a more pro-American foreign policy and attempted to hasten the EDCA's implementation.
This is happening as China strongly decried on Monday the "illegal" intrusion of a US warship into waters it claims in the South China Sea shortly after the US Navy said its guided-missile destroyer the USS Milius had "sailed through the area."