Australian premier assures Philippines it will help in "winning the peace"
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reiterates his government's support to the Philippines' fight against terrorism in his visit to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters in Quezon City on Monday.
Turnbull and his delegation arrived in Camp Aguinaldo around 4pm.
In a statement, Turnbull assured that Australia will help the Philippines in “winning the peace”
“Australia and the Philippines are in the same fight, the fight for freedom, this threat of terrorism of Islamist terrorism is a global one and it is all connect, many of the fighters for Islamic state that propelled in Marawi were from all over the world,” said Turnbull.
“We cannot afford to let them have a foothold anywhere else, little line in our region, everything is connected, the Syria, Iraq , the Philippines, Indonesia, straits of Australia, we are all connected instantly,” he said.
“We are in the same fight and that is why now more than ever the ADF, the AFP are working together supporting each other, learning from each other, fighting the fight, we cannot afford to lose, and as you saw earlier today we are also involved in humanitarian aid because just as we are delighted, proud to help you win that war in that city we now have to, we will support in winning the peace,” Turnbull added.
The Australian prime minister was given arrival honors at the AFP headquarters where he had a closed door meeting with the defense and military officials, including AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero and Philippine Army Chief Lieutenant General Rolando Joselito Bautista.
Guerrero said their meeting with Turnbull focused on the AFP’s anti-terrorism efforts and the military cooperation between Australian and Philippine forces.
“What we mainly discussed is our effort against terrorism particularly ISIS threat. So we have agreed that clearly the military-to-military cooperation between the Australian Defence Force and the Armed Forces of the Philippines should be strengthened. And in that regard, we have agreed to push through with our activities and even strengthen our future activities particularly the feed of intelligence and on securing our borders,” he said.
Turnbull witnessed a demonstration of enhanced counter terrorism cooperation between the AFP and the Australian Defense Force (ADF)
After the demonstration, Turnbull also spoke before the ADF and AFP who participated in the exercise.
Last month, Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana agreed to increase military cooperation.
This includes urban warfare training between the Australian Defense Force and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Payne also visited the ADF personnel who manned the AP-3C Orion aircraft which supported the AFP in their fight against terrorists in Marawi City. Robina Asido/DMS