MANILA - The US will provide 2 surveillance planes to the Philippines to aid troops fighting Islamic State-inspired militants in the south, Washington's envoy to Manila said Tuesday.
The Cessna 208 aircraft have intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities and will be deployed "in a couple of weeks," Ambassador Sung Kim.
"We’re going to do everything possible to support the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) as it tries to secure the area," Kim told ANC's Headstart.
Some 500 people have been killed in nearly 2 months of fighting in Marawi City that has led to President Rodrigo Duterte declaring martial law in the entire Mindanao.
The Philippines and the US are bound by the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and two other agreements that allow US troops to have rotating presence in the country.
"This is a very, very strong alliance. We’re partners, allies, and friends, and we help our friends and partners in time of need, and the Marawi situation is clearly a very difficult situation for the Philippines," said Kim.
Kim said the US would also help rebuild Marawi. Duterte has earmarked at least P20 billion to rehabilitate the area.