Singapore army to aid Philippines battle terrorism

Singapore's support was announced during a meeting with Philippine Secretary of National Defence.

Philippine troops kill 4 Abu Sayyaf militants in Bohol
Picture for representation Reuters

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has affirmed its willingness to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as the latter continues their campaign against terrorists in the southern Philippines.

Singapore's Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen offered the SAF's assistance through the deployment of a Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130 transport aircraft. The aircraft will be able to help in delivering humanitarian supplies to the evacuees from Marawi.

More so, Singapore will offer the use of the SAF's urban training villages for the AFP troops, as well as a detachment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to enhance the AFP's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

Singapore's support was announced during the meeting of Dr Ng with Philippine Secretary of National Defence Delfin Lorenzana.

In a Facebook post, Dr Ng said the ISIS-linked networks and their leaders eye establishing their bases in Marawi to launch further attacks against other cities in the Philippines and in ASEAN countries.

"Many countries within ASEAN and beyond are monitoring the extremist violence there and offering assistance. Peace-loving countries understand that if we do not combat terrorism together, we will be attacked individually, and our citizens will never be safe at home," Dr Ng wrote.

The defence minister said with other extremist groups having formed networks to set up a caliphate in Southeast Asia similar to Iraq and Syria, the repercussions cannot be over-estimated.

"Just like what happened in 2002 in Bali (bombings), the same can happen here if the situation worsens. Therefore, we need to combat this threat together," said Dr Ng.

The Philippine troops have been locking horns with the militants who took over parts of Marawi on May 23. According to a report from AFP News, more than 550 people, including 413 militants and 98 government forces, have been killed in the Marawi fighting, which enters its third month this weekend.

AFP News also noted that Singapore's offer is the first from a fellow ASEAN member apart from the joint maritime patrols involving the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.