The US administration has provided armaments worth $33 million to the Philippines this week in order to help the South East Asian nation defeat Islamic State in its southern region.
The weapons include 100 wire-guided missiles, 12 thermal imaging systems, two dozen 500-pound bombs, and a reconnaissance drone system worth $14.79 million, Stars and Stripes reported, citing the US State Department.
US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, who was on a visit to the Philippines, handed over a tranche of the munitions to the country’s armed forces on Monday.
ScanEagle Drone System
Two days later on Wednesday, the Philippine Navy received a ScanEagle drone system to increase its maritime domain awareness and border security capabilities.
Loumer Bernab, Philippine Fleet Commander Rear Admiral, said that apart from its primary use in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, the system will “greatly aid” his country’s navy “in the effective assessment of the subject areas, timely decision-making, and prompt action in the conduct of territorial defense, internal security operations, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response.”
The system will operate out of Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui some 90 miles west of the capital Manila, Stars and Stripes stated.
Filipino Deputy Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Erick Kagaoan said the “new asset will complement the same kind being operated by the 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing at the Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, which is very close to the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea that need our consistent attention.”
The West Philippine Sea is the Philippine government’s official designation of eastern parts of the South China Sea. Talking about his visit, National Security Adviser O’Brien said that the US is committed to the “sovereignty of the countries that are here in the Indo-Pacific and especially those that border the South China Sea.”
“We are well beyond the days of imperialism where a country, because it is big or mighty, can simply take the patrimony of a smaller country because it has the might to do so,” he added referring to China, without naming it, which has had territorial disputes with several countries in the region.
The Philippines is by far the largest recipient of US military assistance in the Indo-Pacific region.
The US has delivered more than $650 million worth of planes, ships, armored vehicles, small arms, and other military equipment to the Philippines since 2015, the US Embassy in the Philippines said in the statement.