A day after turning over two reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft to the Philippine Air Force, the United States said it is set to donate more equipment with similar capabilities in the near future.
“In the coming months, the US will be transferring more intelligence and surveillance equipment to the Philippine Air Force,” US embassy spokesperson Molly Koscina posted on her Twitter account. The PAF on Thursday officially received two Cessna-208B planes from the US at the Villamor Air Base.
The US has also begun delivery of 200 pieces of 500-pounder bombs and almost 1,000 pieces of 2.75-inch rockets to PAF.
The Air Force is heavily involved in the raging battle to liberate Marawi from Maute militants. Continued air strikes on enemy positions have significantly depleted the PAF’s arsenal.
To replenish the PAF’s firepower, the government dispatched one of its C-130 cargo planes to Nevada to haul fresh supplies of bombs and rockets.
“The two Cessna aircraft will provide the AFP with critically important ISR capabilities. These aircraft will help identify and eliminate safe havens for terrorists, help protect AFP soldiers engaged in operations,” Koscina said, referring to the aircraft turned over to PAF.
A few weeks earlier, she said the US also delivered hundreds of pistols, grenade launchers and combat raiding craft to the Armed Forces of the Philippines for use by the Marines.
The value of these donations, she added, was well over $30 million. Koscina said the military assistance is proof of US commitment to strengthen its relations with the Philippines.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Philippines is grateful for the US assistance.