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US backs PH drive vs terror

By: Genalyn Kabiling

The United States has pledged its “full support” to the Philippines’ efforts to combat terrorism and rebuild the war-torn city of Marawi.

The commitment was relayed by US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim in a “productive and fruitful” meeting with President Duterte in Malacañang last Monday, according to Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella.

“The ambassador reiterated the United States’ full support for the Philippine government operations in Marawi as well as in its reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts for the Islamic city,” Abella said in a Palace news conference.

The latest US offer came after President Duterte invited international partners to help in the rebuilding of Marawi City. His government earlier allocated an initial P20 billion for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the conflict-stricken city.

In the past few weeks, Washington has provided assistance to Filipino troops to help end the siege of Marawi by Islamic State-linked militants but it had no boots on the ground. The US assistance was limited to technical support, particularly in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.