US Pours More Funding To Fight Terrorism In Philippines

July 8, 2007 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 08 Jul) – Washington has poured more military funding in the Philippines to help the Arroyo government fight terrorism and insurgency in the volatile southern region, where hundreds of U.S. troops are currently stationed.

The Philippines praised Washington and U.S. lawmakers for appropriating a $30-million foreign military funding to the help fight terrorism and bring lasting peace and progress in the troubled southern region of Mindanao.

Troops, backed by U.S. military intelligence, are battling Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya terrorists and Maoist insurgency in the southern Philippines.

The U.S. recently delivered 20 ageing UH-1H Huey helicopters for the Philippine Air Force and promised more in the next few years.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said the $30-million was appropriated under the 2008 Foreign Military Funding bill by both Houses of the US Congress.

“We are thankful to our friends in both Houses of the US Congress and in the Executive Branch for their faith in the government of the Philippines as demonstrated in the strong military funding currently appropriated to the Philippines in the 2008 Foreign Military Funding bill,” Bunye said in a statement.

“We share mutual determination to bring peace and solidarity in Mindanao and to strengthen US-Philippines security relations,” he said.

Bunye said US funding has been very helpful to the fight against terrorism and in bringing in basic infrastructure, education, and health care in crucial areas in Mindanao.

“This is funding that has allowed our partnership with the United States to break new ground in making our country and our region safer from the threat of terror. This is funding that has saved lives and that has brought renewed hopes of lasting peace and meaningful progress to thousands,” Bunye said.

The US Congress also approved an additional $2 million subject to the confirmation of the State Department that the Philippines is implementing the recommendations of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.

Militant groups and political activists in the Philippines blamed the military as behind more than 900 extra-judicial killings in the country since President Gloria Arroyo took power in 2001.

The Philippine military denied the accusations.

“We see this provision as a sincere desire to help and further encourage the Philippines to address the issue of politically-motivated killings. We assure the members of the US Congress that the Philippine government acknowledges their concern and see this as a sincere desire to help us address the issue,” Bunye said.

Washington also promised addtional $30-million in aid once a peace accord is reached between the Philippine government and the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. (Mindanao Examiner)


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