MANILA - The Philippine government on Tuesday received P1.38 billion ($29 million) worth of defense gear from the US Defense Department, the allied countries said, as the latter's acting chief visited Manila.
Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller met with his Filipino counterpart, Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. of the Philippines' Foreign Affairs Department, during which the military paraphernalia were officially turned over.
According to the US embassy in Manila, Miller announced the transfer of defense articles that included sniper and anti-IED (improvised explosive device) equipment.
Miller also informed Lorenzana that one C130 military transport aircraft will be delivered to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Dec. 17, the Philippines' defense department said.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to visit the Philippines, the United States’ oldest treaty ally in Asia. It was an honor to meet with Secretary Lorenzana and Secretary Locsin to discuss deepening our alliance and supporting a free and open South China Sea and Indo-Pacific region,” Miller said, according to the embassy.
The US official also highlighted the more than P1.1 billion ($23.4 million) in U.S. COVID-19 assistance and disaster relief for recent typhoon victims in the Philippines, and the ongoing U.S. support for Philippine counterterrorism and maritime security efforts, said the embassy.
“We are grateful for the support provided by the United States as we continuously work on the enhancement of the Philippines’ defense capabilities,” Lorenzana said in a separate statement.
“The modernization of the AFP will ultimately allow us to respond more effectively to both traditional and non-traditional security threats to our maritime nation. Our government expresses our deep appreciation for the US government’s assistance in protecting our borders from external threats," he added.
Miller’s trip to Manila followed the Nov. 25 visit of US Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, as well as US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien’s Nov. 22 to 23 visit, during which he announced P868 million ($18 million) in supplementary military equipment and training for the AFP.
The Philippines is by far the largest recipient of U.S. military assistance in the Indo-Pacific region.
Since 2015, the United States has delivered more than P33 billion ($650 million) worth of planes, ships, armored vehicles, small arms, and other military equipment to the Philippines, while also training with Filipino counterparts.
- with report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News
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