October 24, 2017
CLARK, Pampanga -- The Australian Defense Force (ADF) to conduct urban warfare training with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
In a press conference, Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne announced she and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana agreed to increase military cooperation between Australia and Philippines.
“I can confirm that this morning Secretary Lorenzana and I have agreed to a new range of measures which we spoke about on the last occasion that I was here and our first discussions on this matter that will see our two countries increase our cooperation to support the Philippines Armed Forces in addressing the challenges imposed by modern-day terrorism,” he said.
As part of the increased cooperation, Payne said the ADF will be sending teams to train the AFP on urban warfare.
“The Australian Defence Force will provide mobile training teams that begin providing urban warfare counter-terrorism training in the Philippines in the coming days,” she said.
It’s made up of mobile training teams approximately 80 in total. We will go to appropriate military bases as agreed with the Philippines Armed Forces and the Philippines government to provide urban warfare training to work with the Army and with the Marines. The focus will be urban operations,” she added
Payne noted that the training “will provide and support the Philippines defence force to be able to counter the brutal tactics being employed by terrorists.”
“It will involve a range of skills related to combat in urban environments. It will involve information sharing and the experience sharing to ensure that we are able to used skills that we have to hand,” she said.
Payne said the training will be conducted within the bases of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“The Australian Army will provide training to the Philippines Army and the Philippines Marine Corps. This training will be conducted on Philippines military bases,” she said.
Lorenzana said they have discussed the possibility Filipino soldiers would be given a chance to visit the combat facilities in Australia.
“Earlier, Minister Payne and I discussed various programs and activities aimed to strengthen the defense cooperation between the two countries, particularly the possibility of visiting combat training facilities in Australia for some members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he said.
Payne also emphasized the important skills that the ADF can share to their Filipino counterpart during the training.
“Through our significant involvement in the last couple of years in counter-Daesh campaign in Iraq and Syria, Australia has acquired skills and knowledge that we are able to share with the Philippines Armed Forces,” she said.
“We also obviously work closely with the kind of terrorism.. in Iraq the skills that we have acquired that we thinks it’s important to share with the Philippines I discuss this to Secretary Lorenzana equally the Philippine Armed Forces have skills to share back to Australians,” she added.
Payne said she and Lorenzana also “agreed to work together to enhance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in the southern Philippines; strengthen information sharing arrangements; and enhance maritime security engagement and bilateral maritime patrols.”
“Together Australia and the Philippines will also co-host a multi-agency civil, military and law enforcement seminar on post-conflict rehabilitation efforts later this year,” she said.
“This seminar will draw on lessons from past operations, and international and local civil-military-police expertise,” she added.
Payne also mentioned that the Royal Australian Navy will conduct ship visits to the Philippines that will involve a range of cooperative activities to support the development capacity in the Philippines Navy.
“This cooperation will begin with an Australian patrol boat visit in the next month,” she said.
Payne also emphasized that although combat operations in Marawi was terminated, Australia and Philippines are still looking into possible continuation of the support that it provided.
“Now that the secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana has declared the end of combat operations in Marawi we have been reviewing with the Philippines the need for that continuing engagement, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support we will work with the Philippines to address that in the coming days,” she said.
“Australian experts from military and civilian agencies will conduct a seminar here in the Philippines focused on the benefits of a whole-of-government approach to reconstruction, recovery and rehabilitation,” she added
“We will also increase intelligence cooperation including expert advice on countering Daesh-inspired social media narratives.” Robina Asido/DMS
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