Friday, August 4, 2017

The Philippines open to ‘fresh perspectives’ from ADF in fight against IS in Marawi

From SBS (Aug 3): The Philippines open to ‘fresh perspectives’ from ADF in fight against IS in Marawi

Philippine Marines soldiers firing mortar rounds towards enemy positions on July 22, 2017 in Marawi, southern Philippines. (Getty Images AsiaPac)

The Philippines Defence Secretary says any gains his country makes against IS will also benefit Australia.

The Philippines government says it is open to learning from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to aid its fight against IS in Marawi.

“We are always open to learning the best military practices around the world so that we can incorporate them in our own doctrines,” Defence Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana told SBS World News from Manila.

“Australia would be able to provide us fresh perspectives drawn from its own operations across the globe.”

IS rebels in the southern city of Marawi continue to hold out against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s forces since first claiming the city earlier in the year.

The Defence Secretary said the need to defeat IS in the region was vital.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

“Our collective victory on this front will also benefit Australia and the rest of the world as a single foothold of IS in this region will surely affect other countries,” he said.

Secretary Lorenzana did not confirm whether the Philippines had officially requested Australian soldiers to help train its forces, but said the two countries already shared military bonds.

“The Status of Visiting Forces Agreement between both governments enables the ADF and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to regularly conduct joint exercises and training in order to increase interoperability, familiarisation and goodwill.”
When Marawi, a once-little known city in the southern Philippines, was overrun by militants allied to IS in May, it brought the spectre of radical Islamist insurgency to Australia’s doorstep.

Australia recently sent two AP-3C Orion surveillance aircraft to support 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,” Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said when announcing the deployment.

Secretary Lorenzana said the Philippines is open to international support.

“We welcome any technical assistance that our allies can provide while the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the process of developing its own capabilities,” he said.

Fighting in Marawi, The Philippines explained

“Australia can share vital information and intelligence, provide technical assistance to our operating units, and combat the spread of violent extremism by helping the Philippine government target its root causes - poverty and underdevelopment that breed social injustice.”

Approximately 300 Australian soldiers have been deployed to Iraq to train and advise the Iraqi military in the fight against IS.

The ADF is also mentoring its counterparts in Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is due to visit Manila over the weekend to meet with government officials.

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