MANILA - The United States military has handed over 1,000 gas masks to the Philippine Navy as part of Washington's commitment to support Filipino troops amid the ongoing crisis in Marawi City, the US Embassy in Manila said Saturday.
"As the fighting continues in Mindanao, the Philippine Navy requested these M40 field protective masks and C2 filter canisters in order to better prepare their sailors and marines to respond to chemical threats," the US Embassy in Manila said in a statement.
Under the Philippine-US Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, the Armed Forces of the Philippines is entitled to receive military equipment and security assistance packages "in an accelerated process reserved for allies and close partners of the United States."
"The United States is proud to work closely with the Republic of the Philippines and will continue to support capacity-building counterterrorism efforts and the AFP’s long-term modernization goals," the statement read.
The aid is part of continuing US military assistance for Philippine troops as they fought Islamic State-linked terrorists in Marawi City.
In July, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim turned over 2 surveillance planes to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
The US, the Philippines' strongest defense ally, also gave new counterterror gear to the Philippine Marines in June to provide firepower to troops in Marawi.
Nearly three weeks into clashes that began on May 23, US forces also provided technical assistance to ground troops fighting against Maute terrorists in Marawi City.
At least 800 people have died in long-drawn conflict, with more than 400,000 displaced from the city and nearby towns. The fighting has also left much of the once bustling commercial center in rubbles.