MANILA – China on Wednesday turned over to the Philippines a P65-million donation for troops wounded in ongoing offensives against Islamic State-linked terrorists in Marawi City, yet another sign of warming ties between Manila and Beijing.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua handed over the latest assistance to President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang.
This brings to P85 million China's total aid to the Philippines in its response to the Marawi crisis. Earlier, it handed over P15 million to support relief and rehabilitation efforts in the crisis-hit city, and another P5 million for wounded troops.
In June, China donated a military aid package which includes rifles and ammunition to help the Philippines in its counterterrorism efforts in Marawi City.
In receiving the Chinese aid, Duterte was accompanied by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Eduardo Año.
Ties between the Philippines and China have seen a turnaround since Duterte took power, with the President seeking enhanced trade ties with one of the world's largest economies despite unresolved disputes over the South China Sea.
Earlier, the United States donated P730 million for Marawi relief, following Australia's announcement of a P1-billion support, Japan's pledge of P100 million, and the European Union's P49-million aid.
The battle in Marawi has been raging since May 23, when ISIS-inspired terrorists captured parts of the once vibrant Islamic city. It has left at least 845 dead, mostly terrorists, and ravaged much of the urban capital.
The conflict has also displaced more than 400,000 from the city and nearby towns.