ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief Eduardo Ano said the Philippines has yet to receive a formal notice from the US military on its planned airstrikes in Marawi City to flush out remaining Islamic State-linked Maute terrorists.
“This is ‘a plan’ being considered. We at the AFP has yet to receive any formal notice or offer for such air capability deployment,” Ano said in a statement sent to reporters on Tuesday, amid reports that the Pentagon was planning such operations.
He cited the mutual defense treaty between the US and the Philippines forged 30 years ago, saying that only technical assistance and training “may be allowed” under the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB).
Quoting US defense officials, NBC News said that the Pentagon “had a consistent” counter-terror presence in the Philippines for 15 years now.
The airstrikes will be carried out by armed drones and once this proposal is approved by the AFP, the US military will be able to launch air bombs into the strongholds of the Maute terrorists.
For Ano, such “desire” will be welcomed by the Philippine military to fight the remaining Maute members holed up in the city.
“We appreciate Pentagon’s reported desire to help the Philippines in the fight against Daesh-inspired Maute Group because terrorism is a global menace that the community of nations must unite to fight against,” he said.