US donates five million ammunition rounds to Philippine Armed Forces

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Some of the ammunition being unloaded at Clark Air Base this month.

The US government has handed the Armed Forces of the Philippines five million rounds of ammunition to be used for counterterrorism training.

The donation, worth at least 117.4 million pesos or $2.2 million, was announced by the US Embassy in Manila today (Monday, September 24).

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An embassy statement said the ammunition, delivered to Clark Air Base in two batches on September 7 and 21, were funded as a grant through the ‘US Counter-terrorism Train and Equip Program’ and will be used by the Philippine Army’s Light Reaction Regiment and the Armed Forces’ Joint Special Operations Group.

The shipment included various types of live and practice 5.56mm and 7.62mm rounds, 12-gauge shotgun shells, .50-calibre rounds and stun grenades.

The statement continued: “The United States, as a longstanding friend, partner, and ally of the Philippines, continues to provide support to the Armed Forces through both grant assistance and expedited sales of arms and munitions to assist both long-term Armed Forces modernization goals as well as urgent counter-terrorism and humanitarian aid and disaster relief requirements.”

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On top of the ammunition, the shipment included a Philippine Air Force purchase of more than one million rounds of ammunition through the United States Foreign Military Sales program. This brought the total to more than six million rounds.

The arrival dates of the ammunition sandwiched the September 18 visit of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to the United States to meet his US counterpart, US Defense Chief Mattis. During this meeting, Manila and Washington reaffirmed their commitment to fighting terrorism.

Dana White, spokeswoman for the Pentagon, described the Lorenzana-Mattis meeting as a discussion of a broad range of defence issues, including both parties’ commitment to fighting terrorism and reaffirming US military advisory support to assist the Philippines in combating the Islamic State and other violent extremist networks.

The United States and the Philippines have also reaffirmed their commitment to the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951, an accord that calls for each other’s support in case of an attack by an external party.

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