The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in a statement, condemned the Marcos regime for colluding with the United States in its plan to construct four more military bases in the country as part of its war preparations against China.

Last week, Malacañang announced four locations considered as additional EDCA sites namely: 1) Naval Base Camilo Osias in Sta Ana, Cagayan; 2) Lal-lo Airport in Lal-lo, Cagayan; 3) Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela; and 4) Balabac Island in Palawan.

Collin Koh, research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said the bases would play a vital role in any potential conflict in the region. “The northern sites are not only aimed at a Taiwan contingency, they have utility in times of a South China Sea conflict,” said Koh.

The Bashi Channel in the northern part of the Luzon Strait, closer to Taiwan, is a critical chokepoint, either for Chinese naval forces to break out of home waters and get into the open Pacific to target US military installations on Guam to the east, or for US warships to get into the South China Sea. “The Balabac site allows for intelligence collection and staging of peacetime air and naval activities in the area, which can put Mischief Reef under closer scrutiny,” Koh said.

Mao Ning, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reacting to this development,  remarked that  Philippines is getting drawn into a “potential conflict” in the Taiwan Strait after the designation of new EDCA sites in Luzon.

Subsequently,  Marcos said that he would not allow the country’s bases to be used to attack China. The CPP said that Marcos is fooling Filipinos when he claimed that these US military bases and facilities will be “used for humanitarian and relief operations.” The so-called disaster response program of the US military is, in fact, a big screen to obscure the aggressive push of the US to extend and project its military power.

Likely, the US will construct facilities to launch long-range missiles in one or more of these EDCA locations. Since 2021, the US Indo-Pacific Command has been planning to construct a network of ground-based missile launching systems along what it calls the “First Island Chain” which includes Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and other islands closest to China. In a related development, this year’s Balikatan will be the largest joint military exercise between the Philippines and the US to date, with over 17,600 troops participating. The International League of Peoples Struggles (ILPS) declared that the US is using the Philippines as its pawn and base for its interests and schemes, while trampling on the country’s national dignity and independence.