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Manila welcomes $6m anti-terror aid from US
By Manolo B. Jara February 12, 2019
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MANILA: A senior Malacanang Palace official on Monday welcomed a $6 million asssistance from the US to be used mainly in intelligence gathering to strengthen the Philippines capabilities in its fight against terrorism.

“We welcome the US commitment in fighting terrorism. This shows that our military alliance with the United States remains strong,” Salvador Panelo, the presidential spokesman, told a Malacanang media briefing.

The US assistance, Panelo said, forms part of the Philippines need for all the help it could obtain from UN member counties to combat and crush terrrorism “which knows no boundaries, politics, religion or creed.”

Panelo emphasised: “It is the new evil in the world that strikes at every country and every continent.”

He reiterated the appeal of security officers for the people to report the presence of any suspicious persons or by a group of persons in their communities that endanger their lives, homes or their properties.

On Jan. 27, twin explosions from powerful home-made bombs ripped through the Jolo Catholic cathedral in Sulu while Mass was being celebrated, resulting in the death of 23 people including church-goers, soldiers and policemen and the wounding of more than 100 others.

President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte and Secretary Eduardo Ano of the Department of Interior and Local Government, a retired military general, blamed the attack on two Indonesian nationals, tagged as suicide bombers and terrorists, for the attack

According to Ano, the Abu Sayyaf terrorists who have pledged allegiance to the Daesh extremists in the Middle East, have supported the Indonesian nationals in carrying out the bombings at the Jolo cathedral.

Officials noted that the explosions came less than a week after more than 1.5 million residents voted overwhelmingly in the first plebiscite for the approval of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) aimed at helping bring just and lasting peace to restive Mindanao.

Under the law, the government is to set up a new political entity called the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) whose core territory is to come from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) composed of the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao de Sur, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi as well as the cities of Marawi and Isabela.

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