Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced this yesterday following talks at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus in Bangkok, Thailand last week.
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Australia increases support for Philippines through enhanced defense program
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - November 18, 2019 - 12:00am

Australia will be providing the Philippines with increased support and training for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Program (EDCP).

Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced this yesterday following talks at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus in Bangkok, Thailand last week.

In a joint statement, Reynolds and Lorenzana said Australia would transition its support under Operation Augury-Philippines to an EDCP beginning Dec. 1.

The announcement reinforces a shared long-term commitment to countering the regional terrorist threat and building on the well-established bilateral defense relationship of both countries.

Reynolds and Lorenzana recognized that after the siege of Marawi in October 2017, Australia’s contribution under Operation Augury-Philippines has provided counterterrorism capacity training to over 10,000 members of the AFP.

Such training cooperation has included essential land-based activities focused on urban combat and joint coordination skills, air training focused on enhancing air coordination in the urban environment and maritime training activities.

Reynolds and Lorenzana agreed that an EDCP would allow the Australian Defense Force to continue delivering the capacity-building support for counterterrorism cooperation requested by the Philippines.

The program will also provide funding certainty and greater flexibility to meet the broader needs of the Australia-Philippines bilateral defense relationship.

Reynolds and Lorenzana underscored that long-term engagement under the EDCP would strengthen their shared commitment to regional security and stability.

DELFIN LORENZANA
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