United States donates $18M worth of weapons systems to PH

The United States donated $18 million worth of weapon systems to the Philippines to be used by the government forces to fight terrorists in Mindanao.

US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien turned over the precision-guided munitions or smart bombs to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. at a ceremonial turnover at the Department of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Manila.

“I am pleased to receive, on behalf of the Philippine government, the donation by the US government of precision-guided munitions or PGMs, valued at approximately $18 million (USD),” Locsin said in his remarks.

“We forward to training for the use of these weapons with the best and undisputed military in the world,” he added.

According to Locsin, the donation was a “fulfillment of a promise” made by US President Donald Trump to President Rodrigo Duterte during a phone conversation in April.

Included in the donation package are 24 MK-82 bombs; 1 MK-82 crate/ packaging; 100 tube-launched optically guided wireless tow missiles 2A Bunker Busters; 12 Improved target acquisition system, and support equipment.

O’Brien said a separate US military plane delivered the weapon systems.

United States donates $18M worth of weapons systems to PH

“This transfer underscores our strong and enduring commitment to a critical alliance. We hope our precision-guided missiles and munitions will help the AFP protect Philippine lives in Mindanao and the needless suffering imposed by ISIS-East Asia,” he said.

O’Brien is on his Southeast Asia tour and visited Vietnam before coming to the Philippines. The top US official is expected to discuss issues concerning the United States and the Philippines, including the South Sea.

“Our nations share a deep interest in upholding the rule of law and the rules-based international order,” he said.

“We welcome the recent statements by President Duterte and the Secretary (Locsin) at the Asean Summit and East Asia Summit to which I participated, calling for all nations, including a certain large nation in the neighborhood to respect international law in the South Sea,” the US official said.

O’Brien conveyed the message that the United States welcomed Duterte’s decision to extend the Visiting Forces Agreement.

“We forward to the VFA continuing to facilitate closer cooperation in combating terrorism,” O’Brien said, thanking Locsin for his “strong involvement” in the process.