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Sunday, Jul. 09, 2006 at 11:39 AM
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THE United States Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie A. Kenney has assured the Philippines that the US will continue providing the Armed Forces of the Philippines with military hardware to strengthen its capability to fight terrorism and insurgency. At a roundtable at The Manila Times, Kenney said the AFP would also receive technical assistance to boost its firepower.
US arms Infusion boost to RP troops
By Jonathan Vicente, Reporter
THE United States Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie A. Kenney has assured the Philippines that the US will continue providing the Armed Forces of the Philippines with military hardware to strengthen its capability to fight terrorism and insurgency.
At a roundtable at The Manila Times, Kenney said the AFP would also receive technical assistance to boost its firepower.
She said the military assistance is part of the US government’s mutual defense program to help allied countries including the Philippines.
She dismissed criticisms from leftist groups that the US military assistance to the AFP is meant to prolong the US presence in the country, particularly in Mindanao.
“Our presence in the Philippines in at the request of the Philippine government, which believes it needs the US for assistance against all forms of terrorism,” Kenney added.
Forms of US aid
The US Embassy website says that under the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program, the US provides military articles, training and services to friendly and allied nations, including the Philippines.
The amount comes from a US State Department budget request, usually tied to a US national interest, such as countering terrorism and other transnational threats.
In fiscal year 2004 (October 2003 to September 2004), the AFP received goods and services worth ,880,000. Another .76 million was approved for fiscal year 2005.
The US government has also provided emergency supplemental FMF grants to improve the AFP’s counterterrorism capability. In fiscal year 2004 (October 2003 to September 2004), these grants were worth million.
The AFP sometimes receives excess defense articles, given on an “as-is-where-is” basis for a fraction of the original acquisition value or on a grant basis. In fiscal year 2003 the US delivered to the AFP M-16 rifles, M35A2 cargo trucks, three UH-1H Huey helicopters and one Cyclone-class ship having a total original acquisition value of .81 million. In FY 2004 the US offered 20 UH-1H Huey helicopters having a total acquisition value of .60 million. The AFP accepted these items in June 2005.
This year the US government has pledged to provide the Philippine Air Force with 26 more Huey helicopters to help in the government’s anti-insurgency campaign. The AFP has also benefited from the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), which covers goods and/or services taken from US military stocks. In fiscal year 2002 the government received a PDA of million and still has million available from fiscal year 2004.
The AFP has been a regular participant in the US International Military Education and Training program. In fiscal year 2004 (October 2003 to September 2004), 176 students received training worth over US.5 million. A total of .0 million is approved for fiscal year 2005, and student training is in progress.
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