US providing logistical support to AFP at Marawi. Counterterrorism weapons donated by the US. Balikatan exercises focus on disaster response.

Support in logistics by US.

PICS courtesy: The diplomat and  abs-cbn

PICS courtesy: The diplomat and abs-cbn

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The United States Army has not been sitting idle while the siege of Marawi continues. Consequently, they have made it clear that the United States Army is with the Philippines though it is not participating in the operations.

In fact, what they are doing is that they are providing intelligence and logistical support to their ally. Army sources revealed that the United States Army was actively providing Technical Assistance.

Therefore, Ltc. Jo-Ar Herrera, spokesperson for the Army’s First Infantry Division, said in a press briefing on Tuesday. He made it clear that the US Army was just fulfilling its obligations towards fighting terrorism.

Hence, in accordance with the terms of their alliance, both the countries have a commitment to fight terrorism. Harerra emphasized that the two countries have an agreement to assist each other in counterterrorism.

Moreover, the theme of the Balikatan exercises was training, exercise and mutual cooperation.

The just concluded exercises were all about continuing cooperation with the United States counterparts, he said.

The stress for this year’s Balikatan exercises was on disaster response, crisis management and humanitarian assistance. The Armed Forces of the two nations participated in Balikatan just last month. These exercises are an annual feature and conducted under the Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and the Philippines. Signed in 1951, it forms the basis of the alliance.

The only time that the exercises were under threat of cancellation was in the last year when President Duterte had a tiff with the US. But, better sense prevailed and the exercises escaped getting scrapped.

Thus, this year’s drills kept focus on familiar themes for the Filipinos. Disaster response and countering terror strikes like the one in Marawi.

In addition, the United States donated to the Philippines several weapons of practical use to the AFP in the current scenario. The weapons were part of the Military Assistance that the US provided to the Philippine marines.

The donated weaponry included:
• Grenade launchers,
• Machine Guns, and
• Pistols.

Finally, Marawi Operations are entering a decisive phase and some of the donated weapons are likely to come in handy there.
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Umrao Singh
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson
Tuesday, 06 June 2017