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PH military aid from US reached P5B since 2017

/ 06:07 PM August 16, 2018

US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim oversees the turnover of six ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) units to the Phlippine Air Force at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Lyn Rillon)

The United States has given the Philippines military assistance worth P5 billion ($95 million) since last year to help modernize its outdated armed forces amid terrorism threats and increasing tensions in the South China Sea.

“From January 1, 2017 to the present, US grants funded the delivery of military equipment worth over P5 billion ($95 million to the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” the US Embassy in Manila said on Thursday.

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The donation includes unmanned aerial vehicles, armored vehicles, and planes.

Only Tuesday alone, the US turned over P807 million worth of surveillance platform to be installed on the C-130 of the Philippine Air Force.

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The Special Airborne Mission Installation and Response (Sabir) is expected to enhance the maritime surveillance and counterterrorism efforts of the Philippine military.

“The Philippines is by far the largest recipient of US military assistance in the region, supporting the AFP’s modernization goals through a variety of programs and initiatives,” the embassy said.

In July last year, the US also donated P1.6 billion ($33 million) worth of two C-208 Cessna aircraft to boost the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities of the military.

As of June, the US has also poured about P1.7 billion ($31.95 million) for conflict-torn Marawi, the site of the five-month clash between the government troops and Islamic State-linked terrorists last year.

Early this month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the US$300 million in new funding for Southeast Asian countries to boost security cooperation primarily in the areas of maritime security and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.  /vvp

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