By Roy C. Mabasa
The United States (US) government on Tuesday announced the delivery of ammunition and explosives to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to enhance the latter’s anti-terrorism capabilities.
In a statement, the US Embassy in Manila said representatives from the Joint United States Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) delivered the ammunition and explosives to the Philippine forces through the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) last January 18.
“These transfers help further the military interoperability, readiness, and effectiveness of both the US and the Philippines,” the US embassy said.
It added that through the MLSA, the AFP is able to receive select munitions and equipment from US military stock through an accelerated purchase process reserved for allies and close partners of the United States.
The embassy, however, did not specify the amount or quantity of the new ammunition and explosives delivery to the AFP.
“The United States is a proud and steadfast ally of the Philippines and will continue to engage in mutually beneficial military cooperation to enhance the capabilities of our forces,” the Embassy said.
Furthermore, it said that the latest delivery is one of many made recently by the US through the MLSA, that directly support AFP members engaged in counterterrorism operations.
This developed as a western media outlet reported early this week that the US has stepped up its military cooperation with the Philippines through “Operation Pacific Eagle,” an anti-terrorism campaign lifted from what was formerly known as “Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines.”
According to reports, the intensified US military mission in the Philippines, most particularly in Mindanao, allegedly began last September following government request for more support in defeating ISIS-inspired militants who attacked Marawi City.