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US offers $32-M aid for anti-crime drive

The United States has offered $32 million worth of “training and services” to help the Philippines combat transnational crimes such as terrorism and illegal drugs.

The latest financial aid was extended by US Secretary of State John Kerry in a meeting with President Duterte in Malacañang in a bid to boost security cooperation between the two strategic allies.

“They also discussed common concerns: terrorism, crime, drugs, religious fanaticism, and maritime security. In relation to this, they also mentioned a menu of solutions,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a press conference at the Palace.

“The US committed $32 million in training and services…Basically it will come in form of trainings and stuff for law enforcement,” Abella added.

Kerry flew to the country this week to meet the new Philippine leader and boost diplomatic relations between the two strategic allies. His visit comes amid the raging maritime dispute between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea. He is the first US Cabinet member to visit Manila under the new Duterte administration.

Abella said the President, who has waged an all-out war against illegal drugs and crimes in the country, appreciates the support given by the United States.

When asked if Kerry raised concern about the spate of alleged extrajudicial killings under Duterte’s watch, Abella said: “There was no alarm that was mentioned there.”

The President, however, explained to Kerry about “the way he has been handling the war against crime especially the narcotic leg,” Abella said. (GK)

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