Australia sending two spy planes to support AFP operations in Marawi
The Australian Defense Force is set to deploy two spy planes to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on its ongoing operation against the terrorist group in Marawi City.
In a press statement Friday, Australian embassy said according to Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne, “the Government of the Philippines has accepted an Australian offer of two Australian Defence Force AP-3C Orion aircraft to provide surveillance support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.”
“The regional threat from terrorism, in particular from Daesh and foreign fighters, is a direct threat to Australia and our interests. Australia will continue to work with our partners in South East Asia to counter it,” Payne said.
“I recently spoke with my counterpart Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana about how Australia can assist the Philippines in its fight against extremists. We agreed the best way to defeat terrorism in our region is for us to work together,” he added.
In a press statement, the Department of National Defense (DND) said the surveillance planes will provide technical assistance to the AFP for two weeks “effective upon a mutually agreed date by military officials of both countries.”
According to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana “the AP-3C Orion aircraft will immediately assist in the ongoing operations as soon as the AFP and ADF finalize operational details.”
“The operation of these aircraft will not require the embedding of ADF personnel with Filipino troops on the ground,” he said.
“The Philippines and Australia have an extensive Defence Cooperation Program that provides the mechanisms for military support, intelligence sharing, and people to people exchanges,” he added.
The DND said Lorenzana confirmed President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted the offer from the Australian government.
“We welcome any technical assistance that our allies can provide while the Armed Forces of the Philippines is in the process of developing such capabilities,” Lorenzana said.
“With these AP-3Cs from the ADF, our troops can benefit from enhanced airborne surveillance of the area any time of the day thereby improving operations on the ground,” he noted.
The embassy said the Australian government is working with the government of the Philippines to support the fight against terrorism in the region.
“Australia has an extensive Defence Cooperation Program with the Philippines, which includes counter terrorism cooperation,” it said.
“Australia condemns the attacks by Daesh inspired groups in Marawi City, located in north-west Mindanao of the Philippines,” it added.
“In the fight against global terror, we need to act as a community of nations. Any help and support we can get from our friends and allies will always be welcome,” Lorenzana added. Robina Asido/DMS