MANILA — The United States military on Monday turned over to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) some P183 million worth of weapons and equipment the latter had procured to augment the country's "counterterrorism and maritime security capabilities."
The delivery, procured through Philippine funds and US grant assistance, included the following:
- 9 M3P .50 caliber heavy machine guns
- 10 mortar tubes
- Other unidentified equipment
"The United States will continue to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ capacity building efforts through joint training and key military equipment transfers... Our mutual security collaboration remains a cornerstone of a free and open Indo-Pacific," said Joint United States Military Assistance Group-Philippines (JUSMAG-P) Chief and Senior Defense Official to the Philippines Col. Stephen Ma, who was among those present in the delivery at the Clark Air Base in Pampanga.
The Philippines is the largest recipient of U.S. military assistance in the Indo-Pacific, the US Embassy in the Philippines said. The US is the Philippines' closest defense ally, even as the Duterte administration sought a pivot to other non-traditional partners such as China and Russia.
This year, the US and the Philippines are commemorating 70 years since the signing of the Mutual Defense Treaty in 1951.
Under the pact, both countries are obligated to come to each other's aid in case of external aggression— a commitment that the US side has affirmed as Manila faced continued Chinese encroachment in the waters.
Filipino and American forces regularly hold joint military exercises.
Recently, US President Joe Biden sent well wishes to Manila during the Philippines' Independence Day celebration on June 12 as he called for continued cooperation in the areas of global health and security.