By: Jaime Sinapit, InterAksyon.com
January 27, 2016 3:25 PM
MANILA – Another United States warship is in the country on what US authorities described as a “routine visit” even as more such port calls are expected, following the Supreme Court ruling upholding the validity of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
A statement released Wednesday by the US Embassy in Manila said the USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54), an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, had docked in Manila Bay on January 24 for a “routine visit for maintenance and crew rest”.
DDG-54 is home-ported in Yokosuka, Japan, an integral part of the US Navy’s only permanently forward deployed naval force, Battle Force Seventh Fleet.
It has crew of more than 300 personnel.
“While in Manila some members of the ship’s crew will have the opportunity to meet with the Philippine Coast Guard as a means of continuing to build the relationship between Philippine and U.S. forces,” the Embassy said.
With implementation of the EDCA cleared by the high court, the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have been crafting with their counterparts the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the agreement signed April 2014.
Earlier, the AFP spokesman,Brigadier General Restituto Padilla had listed major military camps and facilities in the country being eyed as possible locations to host US equipment and personnel.
Nationalist groups view EDCA as greenlighting the virtual return of US bases in the country after the Senate voted to kick them out in September 1991.