Philippines, Australia agree on measures to boost military cooperation


About 80 soldiers from Australia's mobile training team will be deployed in local bases in the Philippines to train army and marine units in urban counter-terrorism warfare, said Payne on the sidelines of an ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting in Clark, a former USA air force base.

AUSTRALIA will train the Philippine military in urban warfare under a cooperation agreement that will further hone the skills and boost the capabilities of Filipino soldiers in dealing with the threats of "modern day" terrorism.

"It is very practical training by the [Australian Defence Force] which will support the Philippines Defence Force to be able to counter what are very brutal tactics by terrorists", she told reporters. We will go to the appropriate military bases as agreed with the Philippines' Armed Forces and the Philippine Government, to provide the urban warfare training to work with the army and the marines.

Australia will also provide assistance to the Philippines on countering IS militants propaganda on social media.

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Canberra has been aiding Manila against local supporters of the Islamic State group in the southern city of Marawi since September, deploying two AP-3C Orion aircraft for surveillance while helping in information-gathering and analysis.

The Royal Australian Navy would also conduct ship visits to the Philippines that would involve a range of cooperative activities to help build the Philippine Navy's capacity, Payne said, noting that this cooperation would begin with next month's visit of an Australian patrol boat.

Philippine troops accustomed to battling insurgents in jungle terrain struggled for five months to fight the hundreds of militants and snipers who took cover in buildings, mosques and houses in Marawi.

Payne said the spread of Islamic State-inspired terrorism was a direct threat to Australia and its interests, and Canberra was determined it "cannot establish a geographic foothold in the region".

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"While we need the troops now for the training on urban warfare, we also need to build a capacity to... train our troops".

Australia and the Philippines will also co-host a summit on post-conflict rehabilitation.

"After 154 days of siege of Marawi Daesh-inspired Maute ISIS group, or after a week since the Commander-in-Chief" s declaration of liberation in Marawi, we now announce the termination of all combat operations in Marawi", said Lorenzana.

Australian defense minister Marise Payne said Australia is committed to support Philippine efforts in defeating terrorism.

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