SANIB PWERSA : Australia to assist in terror fight in Marawi

The Philippine government has accepted Australia's offer of military help to strenghten the forces against terrorism in Mindanao.

"The Government of the Philippines has accepted an Australian offer of two Australian Defence Force AP-3C Orion aircraft to provide surveillance support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines," Sen. Marise Payne said in a statement, she is the Australian Minister for Defense.

"The regional threat from terrorism, in particular from Daesh and foreign fighters, is a direct threat to Australia and our interests," she added.

"We agreed the best way to defeat terrorism in our region is for us to work together," the Australia's Defense Minister said.

The assistance which the Australian government will provide will be good for two weeks. Australian troops will not be deployed alongside the Filipino troops on he ground, according to Lorenzana.

“We welcome any technical assistance that our allies can provide while the Armed Forces of the Philippines is in the process of developing such capabilities,” Lorenzana said.

With the military surveillance planes from Australia, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that these will enhance the military's capabilities.

"With these AP-3Cs from the ADF, our troops can benefit from enhanced airborne surveillance of the area any time of the day thereby improving operations on the ground," Lorenzana said and added that the aircraft will be deployed to the war-stricken city of Marawi.

"The AP-3C Orion aircraft will immediately assist in the ongoing operations as soon as the AFP and ADF finalize operational details. The operation of these aircraft will not require the embedding of ADF personnel with Filipino troops on the ground," Lorenzana elaborated.

Australia and Philippines signed a Status of Visiting Forces Agreement in 2007 and ratified by the Philippine Senate four years later.

"In the fight against global terror, we need to act as a community of nations. Any help and support we can get from our friends and allies will always be welcome," said Lorenzana.

The two spy aircrafts offered by the Australian government will not only subdue the rebellion and terrorism in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur but in other parts of Mindanao as well, said Brigadier General Gilbert Gapay, Eastern Mindanao Command deputy commander.

"It is a welcome development to boost our capability," Gapay told reporters in Davao City. "In every military operation, the intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capability is very important. So having these capabilities, it could be used in any military operation, not just Marawi, but of course, in all other parts in Mindanao," he added.

The government, stated through Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, that it will welcome any assistance from other countries as long as it is allowed under the Philippine Constitution.

Gapay, on the other hand, said the security forces, through the imposition of martial law in Mindanao, were able to prevent the spillover of hostile acts in Marawi City to other parts of the country.

"A month after the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, Eastern Mindanao Command has been steadfast in carrying out its mandate of securing and shielding the area from terrorist attacks following the dictum and principles of necessity, proportionality, and strict adherence to the rule of law and human rights," he said.

Currently, the side of the terrorists have 298 Jihadist deaths, while the government have 69 KIA troops and 26 civilians were killed.

Source: CNN, Sunstar