MANILA, Aug. 8 — The head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the Philippines is yet to receive a formal notice from the United States of its reported plan to conduct airstrikes in the besieged Marawi City and noted that such proposal, if any, has to undergo a process.
AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año said only when the Philippines is actually invaded by “another state actor” can direct military action involving US forces can be allowed.
“Direct military actions may only be allowed during actual invasion of the Philippines by another state actor,” he said. “We at the AFP is yet to receive any formal notice or offer for such air capability deployment.”
He said the existing Mutual Defense Treaty with the US stipulates that only technical assistance and training may be allowed under the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board.
Año expressed appreciation over US’ desire to help in the ongoing fight against terrorists in the southern Mindanao city but also emphasized that it has to undergo a process. “And a covenant must be had between the Commanders-in-Chief of both nations before that option my be adopted,” he said.
“We appreciate Pentagon’s reported desire to help the Philippines in the fight against Daesh-inspired Maute Group because terrorism is a global menace that the community of nations must unite to fight against,” Año said.
A US news network reported the Pentagon is considering a plan that would allow the US military to conduct air strikes in Marawi City. Fighting in Marawi City started when government forces tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS “emir” Isnilon Hapilon last May 23. (With Kathryn Villamayor-OJT/PNA)