MANILA – Malacañang on Friday thanked rivals US and Russia for pledging their support to the Philippines in the country's fight against terrorism.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said both the US and Russia have extended their solidarity with the Philippines as the country deals with terrorists who laid siege on the Mindanao city of Marawi earlier this week.
“The Press Secretary of the US has expressed solidarity with the Philippines and condemns the recent violence perpetrated by an ISIS-linked terrorist group in Marawi in southern Philippines and he stated that the US will continue to provide support and assistance to Philippine counter-terrorism groups,” Abella said in a statement.
Russia, meanwhile, committed to strengthen cooperation with the Philippines, particularly in security and intelligence cooperation and in stepping up measures to combat terrorism, Abella said, citing Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
“So let me again express our gratitude for Russia’s offer to share expertise, experience and vast knowledge in the field of security and fighting terrorism,” Abella said.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday placed Mindanao under martial law after local terrorist groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf laid siege to Marawi City.
Clashes between government troops and domestic terrorists, apparently aided by foreign fighters, erupted as authorities were on their way to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.
The US government has raised a $5-million bounty for any information that will lead to Hapilon’s arrest.