Under the newly signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), American forces using the country?s airwaves do not need a franchise from the Philippine Congress, a foreign affairs official said.
Some quarters have asserted that a franchise from Congress is necessary for the US military to be allowed to use frequencies or spectrum in the Philippines.
Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya, however, said that based on the country?s laws, franchise from Congress would be required if the operation of a radio frequency is intended for commercial purposes.
Malaya is a member of the Philippine panel for the negotiation of the EDCA, which was signed by the Philippines and the US late last month.
The presence of US forces in the Philippines under the EDCA is not for commercial purposes, he told reporters during a media briefing in Malacanang.
?We did a lot of consultations during the course of the negotiations with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), and they told us that they allot a bundle of frequencies to the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It is envisioned that under this agreement, the NTC will not grant a new bundle of frequencies to the US military,? Malaya said.
The AFP will just allow the US military to use existing frequencies or spectrum for the latter?s temporary use, he explained.
US troops coming to the Philippines will be bringing telecommunications equipment only for internal use and not for commercial purposes, according to Malaya.
?That is the same arrangement that we give, for instance, to other visiting military personnel who come to us, including those who have assisted us during Typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan,? he said.