THE Duterte administration welcomed the offer of Australia to provide assistance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to fight extremists such as the IS and its sympathizer, the Maute group, a spokesman in Malacanang said on Wednesday.
“The offer of Australia to train the Armed Forces of the Philippines is most welcome. The fight against terrorism is not only the concern of the Philippines, but it is a concern of many nations around the world,” said Ernesto Abella.
Abella was reacting to a statement by Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop who said that her country was willing to support Philippine military in the same way that it was supporting Iraq’s military in terms of “advising, assisting and training.”
Australia has deployed two AP-3C Orion aircraft for surveillance of the Maute group, which has been terrorizing the Islamic City of Marawi since May 23, a lingering war that has prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to put Mindanao under martial law until the end of 2017.
“The Philippines has in many occasions expressed its willingness to receive assistance from foreign countries if they offer it,” Abella added.
Abella, however, clarified that such assistance would be limited to technical matters, meaning training, as well as information gathering and sharing.
Article 18, Section 25 of the Philippine Constitution, provides that “foreign military bases, troops, or facilities will not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.” LLANESCA T. PANTI