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World

AFP
March 14, 2018

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US gives Philippine air force drones

MANILA: The United States gave the Philippine air force its first surveillance drone system on Tuesday, as the two nations step up cooperation in the battle against militants.

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Washington has been boosting its backing for Philippine counter-terror efforts since supporters of the Islamic State group seized parts of the southern city of Marawi last year, sparking a deadly five-month battle.

The unmanned aerial vehicle system, which includes six drones and is worth $13.2 million, is the latest US military assistance to Philippine troops. "Assets like the ScanEagle will significantly improve the (Philippine military´s) ability to detect terrorist activities, piracy activities, territory encroachment," US Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim told reporters, referring to the drones.

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the system, equipped with cameras and aircraft that can fly for 24 hours, would support operations against militants in the south.

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