Philippines and Australia to Boost Counter-Terrorism Cooperation
The Australian Defence Force will expand its assistance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines to strengthen its long-term ability to combat terrorist threats and prevent the spread of Daesh in the region.
Australia's Minister for Defence Marise Payne said mobile training teams will begin providing urban warfare counter-terrorism training in the Philippines. Australia and the Philippines defense forces will also work together to enhance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in the southern Philippines; strengthen information sharing arrangements and enhance maritime security and bilateral maritime patrols.
The agreement comes after five months of fierce fighting in the Southern Philippines city Marawi, which was seized by Daesh-aligned terrorists in May. The Philippines government announced yesterday that fighting in Marawi has ended.
“The practical training the ADF will provide will ensure the Philippines defense force is better able to counter the brutal tactics being employed by terrorists,’’ Payne said. “Globally we have seen the effect of extremist ideology and terrorist threats on millions of civilians, and it is alarming to see this disruption come to our region.”
Payne said Australia was concerned about terrorists returning from Iraq and Syria to home countries in Southeast Asia and was working closely with Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore to monitor their movements.
“The spread of Daesh-inspired terrorism is a direct threat to Australia and its interests, and we are committed to working with our partners and allies to ensuring Daesh cannot establish a geographic foothold in the region.
“All nations must learn from the recent Marawi conflict and the Philippines’ experience,” said Payne. “Australia is committed to staying vigilant and is prepared to support and contribute to the regional security efforts of our closest friends.”
Payne and Philippines Secretary for National Defense Delfin Lorenzana confirmed the arrangements during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus in the Philippines.