“This support for non-military rule-of-law approaches to addressing terrorist threats will complement our sustained commitment to building the counterterrorism capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” the embassy said in a statement.
Miguel de Guzman
Philippines to receive $27 million counterterror aid from US
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - July 20, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines —  The assistance will include equipment, training and other support programs aimed at boosting law enforcement capacity.

“This support for non-military rule-of-law approaches to addressing terrorist threats will complement our sustained commitment to building the counterterrorism capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” the embassy said in a statement.

“The United States is a proud ally of the Philippines and will continue to provide whole-of-government support and assistance to Philippine counterterrorism efforts as we work together to address shared threats to the peace and security of both of our countries,” it added.

In February, the US designated the Maute group as a terror organization with links to the Middle East-based Islamic State.

In June 2016, IS released a video of militants in the Philippines pledging allegiance to the terror group. In the video, militants encouraged other Muslims to the local IS arm then led by Isnilon Hapilon. Hapilon was killed in Marawi in October 2017.

The Maute group was responsible for the Marawi siege in May 2017, the September 2016 Davao market bombing that killed 15 people, and the attempted bomb attack in November 2016 outside the US embassy in Manila.

Meanwhile, the Special Action Force and other elite units of the Philippine National Police (PNP) may now join the US-Philippines Balikatan war games.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said his proposal to include elite police units in the Balikatan had been approved “in principle” by US Ambassador Sung Kim. Albayalde said he made the request to Kim last May.

He added he had already told Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Carlito Galvez about SAF’s participation in future Balikatan exercises.

“I have already coordinated with the chief of staff of the AFP at pumayag din naman sila na mainvolve din yung mga (and he gave his approval of the involvement of) mobile forces beside the SAF,” he said.

He did not say how many police commandos would actually take part in the next drill.

A total of 508 police officers, including 99 women, have started their six-month commando course at the SAF training facility in Santa Rosa. Of the total, 43 are junior officers with the rank of inspector.

It was Albayalde who ordered new police recruits and new officers from the Philippine National Police Academy to undergo SAF commando training.

The drills cover internal security operations, water-borne rescue, police intervention and combat skills, among others.

At the end of the program, the police officers have to undergo a test mission in areas where there are rebel groups.

“This training will prepare you to face any challenge that will come your way,” he said in remarks at the opening of a SAF commando course in Sta. Rosa, Laguna yesterday.

SAF commander Director Noli Taliño said the participants will form part of five battalions ordered organized by President Duterte to fight insurgency and terrorism. – With Emmanuel Tupas

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES COUNTERTERRORISM PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
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