$30-M Pledged US Military Assistance Still forthcoming.(Business)

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Byline: BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT

The $30 million military assistance pledged to the Philippines would still be granted by the Bush administration even though the bill which would have allocated the funding has been vetoed by the President, US Embassy officials said.

Robert F. Barnes, economic growth advisor of the Office of Economic Development and Government of the USAID, said President Bush had to veto the entire bill because it contained some funding for projects not appropriate for the security interest of the U.S.

The vetoed bill allocated $5.8 billion for various anti-terrorist and military assistance projects. That bill contained the $30 million military assistance to the Philippines.

What was vetoed was not the Philippine provision, the official clarified.

The amount promised would still be given to the Philippines, the official said adding the military assistance would still be considered by the U.S. Congress when session resumes early next month.

The official stressed that the U.S. government places a lot of importance on the security interest of the US and its allies.

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes broke the news that the Philippines lost $30 million when Washington slashed by half the $55 million aid it earlier promised for anti-terrorism campaign.

As a result, Reyes said, the military was forced to delay the acquisition of weapons and equipment against terrorism activities since Manila was left only with $25 million. …