PH Welcomes Assistance from US, Other Nations

Manila Bulletin, June 16, 2017 | Go to article overview

PH Welcomes Assistance from US, Other Nations


After the news came out that the United States (US) has started giving technical assistance to Philippine armed forces in the fight against the ISIS-linked Maute Group in Marawi City, President Duterte was quick to say he did not invite them. But he is grateful for their help, he added.

Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana said it was he who asked the Americans for help under the Mutual Defense Treaty between the two nations. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said the AFP Commander-in-Chief - President Duterte - had given the Department of Defense and the AFP a "free hand" on the matter of seeking US help.

The Americans are now providing "technical assistance" with "no boots on the ground." The assistance thus far includes aerial surveillance, electronic eavesdropping, communications assistance, and training. A US P-3 Orion surveillance plane was seen over Marawi City last Friday.

The US help is evidently needed. As of Sunday, 58 soldiers had already been killed by Maute gunmen, with their Abu Sayyaf allies and ISIS-linked foreign combatants who raided and occupied Marawi City. Thirteen Marines led by 1st Lt. John Frederick Savellano were killed in one gunbattle. The military said 138 of the enemy and 20 civilians have been killed in the fighting since it began May 23. …

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