Singapore has affirmed its readiness to support the Philippines in its campaign against terrorists in Marawi, the Singapore Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said today.
The affirmation was made during the meeting between Singapore Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen and the Philippines Secretary of National Defence, Delfin Lorenzana yesday, it said in a statement in Singapore.
Ng was on a two-day working visit to the Philippines from July 18, to gain a better understanding of the ongoing security situation in the southern Philippines and to explore ways for Singapore to support the Philippines in its counter-terrorism efforts.
“While the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is confident that Marawi will be secured from terrorists soon, further concerted efforts are required to ensure that other terrorist cells do not entrench themselves in the southern Philippines, as this would cause instability to the rest of Asean,” said the ministry.
ISIS-linked groups had already stated their goal to attack cities within Asean to form a caliphate, it added.
Jointly countering the threat
To jointly counter the threat of terrorism, Ng offered the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) assistance in the form of a Singapore Air Force C-130 transport aircraft to deliver humanitarian supplies to the evacuees from Marawi; use of the SAF’s urban training villages for the AFP troops; and a detachment of unmanned aerial vehicles to enhance the AFP’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
Mindef noted that Lorenzana expressed his appreciation and in-principle acceptance of the offer from Singapore.
The ministry said Ng’s visit underscored the warm and friendly defence relationship between Singapore and the Philippines.
Both countries’ armed forces interact regularly through visits, professional exchanges, cross-attendance of courses, and multilateral exercises such as Exercise Coordinated Response in January 2017, which was the first multinational Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise hosted by the Changi Regional HADR Coordination Centre.
On June 19, Singapore attended the launching ceremony of the Trilateral Maritime Patrols by Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines in Tarakan. Indonesia attended as an observer at the invitation of the three member states of the joint patrols.