AFP chief welcomes US support

AFP Chief Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. ( photo)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday, February 12,  welcomed the United States’ quarterly report that showed $61.9 million in support of the intelligence operations of the Philippine military.

“Talks on the matter (of U.S. intelligence aid) are still on the higher level and the AFP is yet to be directly involved,” AFP chief Benjamin Madrigal Jr. told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo.

“Of course any assistance, most especially in terms of technology or added training is a welcome activity,” he added.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the commitment reflected the “very strong” alliance between the Philippines and its defense treaty partner, the U.S.
(Released photo by Jason W. Fudge/U.S. Marine Corps)

According to Glenn Fine, principal deputy inspector general of the U.S. State Department, the Philippine military still needs “extensive support” when it comes to intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance because of its “limited capability” to gather information on a target.

“This quarter, the Department of Defense (DoD) continued to provide assistance to the AFP in its fight against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Philippines (ISIS-PH) and other violent extremist organizations,” Fine said.

The ISIS-PH might remain fragmented and degraded, but it still poses a security threat with an estimated 300 to 550 fighters active in the southern Philippines.

Fine’s DoD report, which was based on recommendations from the Indo-Pacific Command in the last quarter of 2018, was only submitted to the U.S. Congress last week due to the longest government shutdown.

The AFP is currently depending on the U.S. and other traditional allies for its defense and military requirements.

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