SINGAPORE: Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen has offered the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF) assistance to counter the threat of terrorism in Philippines together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said on Wednesday (Jul 19).
In a media release, MINDEF said the SAF's assistance will include a Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130 transport aircraft, use of the SAF's urban training villages for AFP troops, and a detachment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to enhance the AFP's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, MINDEF said.
The C-130 will be used to deliver humanitarian supplies to the evacuees from Marawi, it added.
Dr Ng, in a separate Facebook post on Wednesday, said the ISIS-linked networks and their leaders want to establish bases in Marawi and, from there, launch further attacks against other cities within Philippines and ASEAN, such as those in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
"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," he wrote.
"While the AFP is confident that Marawi will be secured from terrorists soon, further concerted efforts are required to ensure that other terrorist cells do not entrench themselves in the southern Philippines, as this would cause instability to the rest of ASEAN," MINDEF said.
Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana expressed his appreciation for the offer and has accepted it in principle, the ministry added.
This comes after Dr Ng met with Mr Lorenzana on Tuesday during a working visit, which underscores the warm and friendly defence relationship between both countries, MINDEF said.