US donates more counterterror weapons for Marawi troops

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2017 11:41 AM

Members of both the US and Philippine armies unload and inspect a delivery of 992 2.75 inch rockets from the U.S. to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at Clark Air Base, Pampanga. This delivery is one of many recent deliveries from the U.S. through the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) that enhance the AFP’s counterterrorism capabilities and directly support AFP members engaged in current counterterrorism operations. Photo courtesy of US Embassy Manila

MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has received new weapons from the United States as firefights between state forces and terrorists continued in Marawi City.

"The munitions and weapons deliveries will enhance the AFP’s counterterrorism capabilities, and directly support AFP members actively engaged in counterterrorism operations in the southern Philippines, including Marawi," the US Embassy said in a statement Saturday.

At least 1,040 rocket motors and 992 rockets were delivered to the Philippine Air Force, while 1,000 grenade launchers and 250 rocket-propelled grenade launchers are set to be given to the Philippine Army, the embassy said.

The speedy consignment was made possible through the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, where "the AFP is able to receive select munitions and equipment from US military stock in an accelerated process reserved for allies and close partners of the United States."

Back in June, the AFP had to replenish its supplies as the long-drawn conflict depleted its arsenal. 

Aside from providing "technical assistance" in the ongoing battles in Marawi City, the US military recently donated two patrol aircraft to the Philippine military.

In May, the Philippine Marines also received rifles, pistols and combat boats from the Unites States to boost counterterror efforts.

"The United States is a proud and steadfast ally of the Philippines and will continue to provide support to the AFP’s long-term modernization goals and counterterrorism needs," the statement read.

The US, the Philippines' strongest defense ally, has continued to provide military aid despite President Rodrigo Duterte's repeated tirades against its officials, largely due to criticism of his war on drugs.
 
The President, who has shifted the Philippines away from its traditional alliance with the US while cozying up to China and Russia, earlier blasted the Americans for selling or giving secondhand defense equipment to the military.

Duterte has also declined an invitation to go to the US. 

Despite this, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim has expressed optimism that the Philippines remains committed to the alliance.