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United States lifts cap on military aid to Philippines

(The Philippine Star) - January 22, 2015 - 10:00pm

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The United States government has lifted the financial cap on military aid to the Philippines which was imposed five years ago, a senior Philippine official said today.

The Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told a media lunch reception that the US lifted the cap sometime last year but the amount deducted in the past five years cannot be recovered.

Since 2009, the US Congress had been enforcing a cutback of $3 million worth of assistance to the country amid accusations of rights violations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The US lawmakers promised to lift the cap until the Philippine government met certain conditions related to solving and prosecuting cases of extrajudicial killings.

Visiting officials from US Defense Department and State Department, who were in Manila this week for a bilateral dialogue with their Filipino counterparts, said the US will be providing $40 million in military financing to the Philippines in 2015.

David Shear, US Defense Assistant Secretary for East Asia and Pacific, said the continued US assistance is part of its commitment to support Philippine efforts to modernize its military.

"We want to do everything we can to help the Philippine side make the best use of assistance we provide," Shear said.

Local Philippine media speculated that the aid is deemed crucial to the government's current efforts in upgrading its military, perceived to be one of the region's weakest, in protecting its territorial sovereignty amid competing claims with China in resource-rich areas in the South China Sea.  
 

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES DAVID SHEAR DEFENSE ASSISTANT SECRETARY DEFENSE DEPARTMENT AND STATE DEPARTMENT EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC LOCAL PHILIPPINE PHILIPPINE PHILIPPINE FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERT SOUTH CHINA SEA UNITED STATES XINHUA
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