The Daily Manila Shimbun


Philippines explains how US has been helping fight vs Maute

June 11, 2017

The United States has been providing the Philippine military with intelligence information against the Islamic State-linked Maute Terror Group in the war-torn Marawi City, officials said on Sunday. This as the Duterte administration is open to accept offer of assistance from other countries in fighting the terrorists, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement. "The Philippines is open to assistance from other countries if they offer it," he said. In a press conference in Cagayan de Oro City, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the US forces were not joining the Philippine military on its combat operations against the Maute militants, who continued to occupy certain areas in Marawi. "They've (US forces) been providing us some vital, what you called ISR or intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance information to the troops," Lorenzana said, citing that the American forces are based in Zamboanga. Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff General Eduardo Año said the aerial patrol of the P3 Orion of the US is under the Mutual Defense Treaty of the two countries. "We have 60 agreements with the US, the MDT, and within that agreement we have agreed to action activities— it's more than 200 plus actions all-year round," he said. It just happened that there is a Marawi incident, thus, the government decided to avail of the US assistance, he said. Like what Abella has said, other allied countries could also help the Philippines in fighting the terrorist group, Año said. Meanwhile, Abella explained the Philippines has standing protocols which are already in place under the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board with the US under the purview of the PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951. "It does not involve any boots on the ground nor is there any direct participation in combat operations, a matter prohibited by law," he said. He added the fight against terrorism is not only the concern of the country or the US but a concern of many nations around the world. On Saturday, the AFP confirmed that the US has been helping in its operations against Maute in Marawi. (Ella Dionisio/DMS)