The United States government handed over to the Philippines precision-guided munitions worth P868 million ($18 million). The new donation fulfills the pledge made by US President Donald Trump during a conference call with President Rodrigo Duterte in April, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. stated.
The weapons, including 100 TOW-2A missiles, 12 ITAS and 24 MK-82s, were handed over by US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien to support the Philippine Armed Forces (AFP) fight terrorism. Consequently, O’Brien said after his meeting with Locsin, these precision-guided missiles and munitions will help the AFP secure Philippine lives in Mindanao and end the senseless misery imposed by ISIS-East Asia.
I finally got the birthday gift I’ve long longed for. pic.twitter.com/r26wRQ0zCp— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) November 24, 2020
O’Brien noted that the movement of arms underlines the enduring commitment of Washington to its critical alliance with Manila, its long-standing partner and former colony. Upon acquiring the weapons on behalf of the Government of the Philippines, Locsin claimed that the armed forces are looking forward to training in their use.
These smart bombs will boost the capability of the armed forces in neutralizing identified or specific threats to national security, particularly in counterterrorism operations. Noting that the US has been at the frontline of the war against ISIS, O’Brien said that in Southeast Asia, Trump stands alongside Duterte as the Americans fight ISIS.
Following Duterte’s decision to further prolong the termination of the Visiting Powers Deal between the two nations, Trump’s security advisor also expressed hopes of expanding relations with the Philippines.
In view of this, Duterte agreed a few weeks ago to prolong the delay of the repeal of the VFA for another six months. The original termination suspension would have ended in December.
In fact, with the latest extension, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the end of the VFA will take place 69 days after June 1, 2021.
Morever, This is to enable them to find a more enhanced, mutually beneficial, mutually agreeable, and more effective and lasting arrangement on how to move forward in their mutual defense.