United States Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is set to meet President Benigno Aquino III and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin during his visit in Manila this week.
The official’s arrival comes on the heels of the implementation of the Philippines-US’ Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which provides increased rotational presence of American troops in the Philippine military bases, and allows them to build facilities to store fuel and equipment there.
Included in the itinerary of Carter is the observation of the Balikatan joint military exercises that started April 4 and will end on Friday. He is the first top US defense official to observe the joint military drills.
An earlier advisory from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) disclosed that Carter arrived 6:20 p.m. on Tuesday on board a chartered plane at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. (MJD)