PH acknowledges US, Russia firm support in fighting terrorism

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The Philippines expressed its appreciation to both the United States and Russia for their solidarity and support in the country’s fight against terrorism.

According to ABS-CBN, a Malacañang official extended the message to the two nations as a gesture of acknowledgment from President Rodrigo Duterte.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said both foreign governments have offered to step up security cooperation with the country amid ongoing government operations against terror suspects in Marawi City.

“We welcome the United States’ expression of solidarity with the Philippines against violent extremist groups with links to ISIS,” Abella said in a statement.

Abella noted that the US Press Secretary has condemned the violence perpetrated by the terror group in Marawi and assured that Washington will “continue to provide support and assistance to Philippine counter-terrorism groups.”

Russia, meanwhile, committed to strengthen cooperation with the Philippines, particularly in security and intelligence cooperation and in stepping up measures to combat terrorism, Abella said; citing Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.

“So let me again express our gratitude for Russia’s offer to share expertise, experience and vast knowledge in the field of security and fighting terrorism,” Abella added.

Cayetano disclosed that Russian President Vladimir Putin responded positively to Duterte’s request for a soft loan that would be utilized in acquiring state-of-the-art Russian weaponry to help the Philippines address terrorism in the country.

Cayetano said Russia now awaits the shopping list of military arms provisions necessary to win the anti-terrorism war.

Duterte on Tuesday placed Mindanao under martial law after local terrorist groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf laid siege to Marawi City.

Clashes between government troops and domestic terrorists, apparently aided by foreign fighters, erupted as authorities were on their way to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.