US donates drone to Philippines to boost terror fight

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2018 03:56 PM

US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim pours champagne over a Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle during a traditional turnover and blessing ceremony on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. Handout


 MANILA - The US on Tuesday donated a P687 million drone to the Philippines to boost its counter-terrorism and disaster response capabilities, Washington's top envoy said.

The unmanned ScanEagle will be operated out of Antonio Bautista Airbase in Palawan province. Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana received the aircraft from Kim in ceremonies at Villamor Airbase in the capital.

"This great system will increase counter-terrorism and HADR (humanitarian and disaster response) capabilities," Kim said on Twitter.

Last year, the US also donated 2 brand new Cessna C-208B Grand Caravans to the Philippines to boost its maritime security capabilities. 

During a workshop on violent extremism also on Tuesday, Kim reiterated Washington's commitment to support the Philippines, its long-time ally in the Pacific.

"The United States government remains fully committed to sustaining our military and civilian partnerships to counter violent extremism and terrorism," he said.
 
Lorenzana called for cooperation in educating the youth against extremist ideologies.

"Our experience in Marawi has taught us that this violent extremism, the movement of these people, is ongoing as we speak. The challenge is how to stop them from radicalizing our youth," he said, referring to the 5-month-long urban war in the south that ended in October.

The United States was among several countries that provided aid to the Philippines during the campaign against the Islamic State-inspired Maute group in Marawi City.

-with a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News