Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the commitment reflected the “very strong” alliance between the Philippines and its defense treaty partner US.
U.S. Marine Corps/Jason W. Fudge/Released
US providing the Philippines P300 million for intel operations
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - February 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The United States has vowed to provide the Philippines about P300 million in funds to help boost its intelligence operations as it grapples with threats posed by extremist groups, Malacañang said yesterday. 

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the commitment reflected the “very strong” alliance between the Philippines and its defense treaty partner US. 

“Terrorism knows no boundaries, politics, religion and creed. It is the new evil in the world that strikes at every country and every continent and all member-nations of the United Nations really should help and cooperate with each other to combat and crush terrorism,” the spokesman said in a press briefing. 

He made the announcement weeks after a twin bombing rocked Jolo, Sulu – a known bailiwick of local terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, which has pledged allegiance to the extremist Islamic State (IS). More than 20 people died and dozens others were injured in the blast.

Indonesian suicide bombers aided by Abu Sayyaf bandits were behind the explosions, according to security officials.

President Duterte has vowed to take no prisoners of IS, which he described as “insane” and “made in hell.”

“In Mindanao, as we all know, terrorists apparently have gained a foothold in that region and they have unleashed in fact bombs that killed our soldiers, as well as our civilians,” Panelo said. “We would like to assure the public that our armed forces are relentlessly pursuing these mass murderers, even as some of them by now have been criminally charged and are presently detained.”

As the government intensifies its campaign against terrorism, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is also beefing up its capability using at least P1.320 billion to purchase 50 fast boats.

PCG commandant Admiral Elson Hermogino yesterday said four of these boats – the 38-meter response boats – were bought last year for P120 million from the US and are expected to arrive in the middle of this year.

The boats could travel at 40-knots, enough to run after the motorized boats used by terrorists and pirates in the waters of Mindanao. 

The remaining P1.2 billion would be used to purchase 40 units of 33-footer boats from local shipbuilders. Deliveries are expected to start this year and will be completed by 2020.

“These boats would be used for anti-piracy and law enforcement operations in the southern part of the Philippines. So, expect a more enhanced (Coast Guard) operations in this area,” Hermogino said.

He added that the purchase of the small boats is part of security measures the PCG is undertaking as it increases its vigilance along coastal waters. – With Evelyn Macairan, Ramon Efren Lazaro, Helen Flores

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