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US pledges P730-M aid for Marawi


DAVAO CITY – The United States government has promised to give P730 million in aid for the relief and recovery of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, and surrounding areas, the US Embassy said.

The amount, worth $14.3 million, was promised by US Ambassador Sung Kim.

“The United States is deeply committed to this relationship and remains ready to support our friend and ally as we face the challenges and opportunities,” Kim said.

“We all look forward to the end of the crisis, and the end of the fighting and suffering. We have been and will continue to support the Philippine government’s efforts to deal with the crisis.”

Kim said that this will be coursed through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and will include critical relief supplies such as safe drinking water, hygiene kits, kitchen sets, and shelter materials that will improve conditions in evacuation centers and other alternative housing, USAID said in a statement.

USAID will also provide 18 facilities in Marawi with critical supplies and services to address tuberculosis and maternal, newborn, and child health needs.

In addition to this, USAID will help bolster the early recovery of Marawi by restoring basic public services such as health care, water, and electricity.

It will support Marawi’s longer-term stabilization and rehabilitation by jumpstarting livelihoods, promoting community dialogue, rebuilding resilient health systems, and offering skills training and psychosocial counseling for youth, the NGO said.

Meanwhile, the US government has admitted that it is deeply concerned about the ongoing terrorist threat in the Philippines.

In an on-the-record roundtable discussion with select members of the local media at the US Embassy in Manila yesterday, Kim pointed out that the situation in Marawi City in Mindanao has exposed the weight of serious terrorist threat in the country.

“The Maute brothers, Abu Sayaff, these militants, I think have looked for an opportunity to cause serious threat for the Philippines,” said Ambassador Kim. “And this is why I think it is so important for us to support and cooperate with the Philippine government’s counterterrorism efforts. Cause this is not a matter only for Mindanao, only for the Philippines, I think this is a matter of concern with the broader region and with the US as well.”

Kim expressed pride that over the past seven months the US government has been able to provid “very important, very useful equipment” for the Armed Forces of the Philippines in its effort to fight terrorism in Mindanao.

“As we know I have the privilege in participating the turn over ceremony for two Cessna aicraft, thats just one example,” he said “Early this year we also have provided Raven tactical UAV system, that’s unmanned air system, We also provided pistols, grenade launchers, rubber raiding crafts and motors as well, so it’s been a full range of very useful equipment that we have turned over to the Philippines military.”

Just recently, the US government donated two new Cessna 208B aircraft to the Philippine government to enhance the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) counterterrorism capabilities and help protect members of the AFP who are actively engaged in counterterrorism operations in the southern Philippines including Marawi City.