Lorenzana: EDCA, military exercises with U.S. 'still on'

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Filipino and American soldiers in a joint military training activity.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — As U.S. President Donald Trump ascends to the White House, the Duterte administration says the Philippines is up to continuing its military ties with its long-time Western ally.

In a press conference on Friday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) — an agreement between the two countries' armed forces, allowing the U.S. troops to build facilities in Philippine military bases — is "still on."

Also read: What you need to know about EDCA

"According to the Pentagon, they will start constructing some facilities in the EDCA chosen camps... Basa Air Base, Bautista Air Base in Palawan... I think the first they will develop is Basa... with a runway and put up facilities also for their troops. Mga imbakan nila ng mga gamit nila kung nandito sila [It will be a storage for their equipment here]," Lorenzana said, adding the American troops could come back anytime should they decide to leave.

Lorenzana said construction of facilities may start anytime as construction costs were already included in the U.S. fiscal year of 2017.

Also read: EDCA helpful to PH in S. China Sea row - retired U.S. admiral

Lorenzana added, President Rodrigo Duterte is aware of it and has no qualms about the matter.

"He is aware of that. Sabi naman niya [He said] we will honor all agreements that were entered into by the previous government. So okay sa kaniya 'yun [it's okay with him]," Lorenzana said.

Watch: Duterte threatens to junk EDCA

Duterte has become critical of the U.S. government towards the end of former president Barack Obama's term — after the latter became vocal against Duterte's war against drugs.

Duterte, however, said he has no problem with Trump —  and that, in fact, he is looking forward to meeting the new American President.  Duterte also claims he has received praise from Trump on how he runs the government.

Also read: Duterte: I only want to see Filipino troops on PH soil

According to Lorenzana, aside from Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) and Philippines-U.S. Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX), other military exercises with the U.S. troops will continue.