By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
THE UNITED STATES has committed over P300 million in “intelligence support” to the Philippines, Malacañang announced on Monday.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo also said the Japanese government, through Foreign Minister Taro Kono, has expressed its commitment to assist the Philippines in “combating the scourge of terrorism.”
“There is a commitment by the United States of P300 million as intelligence support, and we of course, we welcome the United States’ commitment in this particular matter in fighting terrorism. It only shows that our military alliance with the United States remains very strong,” Mr. Panelo said.
Mr. Panelo said he was informed about this by Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana. “There’s no specific detail yet, because ano pa lang iyon, (it was just a) general commitment,” the spokesman said.
He also disclosed that President Rodrigo R. Duterte received Mr. Kono in Davao City on Feb. 9, and “the latter personally conveyed the warm wishes and message of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the President, as well as Japan’s commitment to further deepen and expand cooperation with the Philippines.”
“FM Kono likewise conveyed PM Abe’s grave concern over the twin explosions in Jolo, Sulu, and expressed Japan’s condemnation of the terrorism and violent extremism and (its) commitment to assist the Philippines in combating the scourge of terrorism,” Mr. Panelo said.
Mr. Kono also reaffirmed Japan’s “sustained support for the Philippines’ quest for just and lasting peace and development in Mindanao, extended felicitations for the success of the holding of the Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite and expressed Japan’s commitment to rehabilitate and reconstruct Marawi and develop ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), including the funding of the Road Network Development Plan for ARMM.”
Mr. Duterte, in turn, “expressed his desire to meet PM Abe again to discuss developments in bilateral ties and assess ways of moving forward together on shared concerns,” Mr. Panelo said.
“We assure the nation that security for our people has been enhanced. We call our people to be vigilant and report to the authorities any suspicious act by any person or group of persons in their communities that may tend to endanger their lives, limbs and properties,” he added.