“The United States-Philippines alliance is grounded in the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, which serves as a bulwark of peace and stability in the Southeast Asia region,” says in a fact sheet released by United States Department of State in time for United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s visit to the Philippines.
It added that the Philippines is the largest recipient of US Foreign Military Financing (FMF) in the Indo-Pacific region, totaling more than $335 million over the past five years.
“These funds help the Philippines monitor and protect its maritime interests in response to China’s destabilizing actions in the South China Sea, while modernizing its equipment, personnel, and security systems,” the US department explained.
“We continue to support the Philippines’ counterterrorism efforts against ISIS and other terrorist groups, providing more than $60 million in humanitarian assistance and stabilization funding in response to the 2017 Marawi siege,” it noted.
It added that in addition to supporting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in liberating Marawi, US troops continue to advise and assist Philippine operations against ISIS-affiliated terror groups.
“Through a $26.5 million program, US civilian counterterrorism support improves the Philippines’ ability to respond to terrorist attacks within a rule of law framework, while enhancing its capacity to curb terrorist recruitment and radicalization, and effectively investigate and prosecute cases of terrorism,” the US State Department said.
“For example, US-trained elite law enforcement units responded to the January 27 Jolo cathedral bombing and are assisting with the post-blast investigations,” it noted.