MALACANANG has welcomed the donation of two surveillance planes by the United States to the Philippines, saying it reaffirms the “strong military alliance” between the two countries.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) received two brand new Cessna–208B Grand Caravan aircraft from the US, which are expected to aid the Philippine government’s counter-terrorism efforts, internal security operations, law enforcement, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
“The donation of the United States reaffirms the strong military alliance between the Philippines and the United States which remains robust to this day,” Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
“These aircraft would bolster the capability and readiness of our Air Force to help address terrorism and support our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations,” he added.
The donation of surveillance planes came as government troops continued battling Islamic State-inspired terrorists in Marawi City.
US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, during the turnover ceremony at the Villamor Airbase on Thursday, said the US wanted to “help Marawi residents get their city back and start their lives over in a safe and stable environment.”
The US provided technical assistance to the AFP to help in the offensives.
“We really want to help AFP as much as we can, as they go through the very difficult situation in Marawi, as they also continue to strive to develop the military in the long term,” Kim said. CATHERINE S. VALENTE