Military has yet to deploy Australian patrol planes to Marawi

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2017 04:58 PM

MANILA - The military has yet to deploy two patrol aircraft offered by Australia to Marawi City, where troops are fighting Islamic State-inspired extremists, its spokesman said Monday.

"That offer has been accepted by our Armed Forces and we are very thankful to our Australian counterparts for that offer, but to my knowledge, up to now hindi pa rin natin ito nae-employ (these haven't been emploed)," Colonel Edgard Arevalo told reporters.

"Our commanders on ground know that we have accepted this generous offer of our Australian counterparts and we’re leaving it up to them to determine what exactly these are and how exactly this help or assistance can be employed vis-à-vis the situation on the ground," he added.

Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne last week said Philippine government accepted an offer of two Australian Defense Force AP-3C Orion aircraft to provide "surveillance support" to the military fighting Islamist militants in Marawi.

US personnel were also reported to be providing "technical support" on surveillance and information gathering.

The fighting in Marawi, an Islamic city in the south of predominantly Catholic Philippines, has raged for a month leaving almost 400 peoplekilled, including soldiers and civilians.

Arevalo said the offensive was in the "concluding phase" and rehabilitation was being discussed.