MANILA — Australia and the Philippines are allies in the fight against terrorism.
This was stressed by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during an interview at Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City shortly after the anti-terror capability demonstation by Australian and Filipino military forces late Monday.
The Australian military has earlier expressed its intention to help train Filipino units in urban warfare.
“Australia and the Philippines are in the same fight for freedom, this threat of terrorism is a global one,” Turnbull said.
Turnbull also cited the case of Marawi City where many foreign terrorists congregated to join in the five-month battle which started May 23 and ended on Oct. 23.
These terrorists came from Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Middle East, he added.
Fighting started when Filipino forces tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS Emir in Southeast Asia, Isnilon Hapilon, and his cohorts.
The five-month battle has resulted in the death of 923 terrorists, including Hapilon and Maute Group co-founder Omar Maute, and 165 government troops along with 47 civilians.
“We are in the same fight and that is why now more than ever the Australian Defense Forces, the AFP (are) working together supporting each other, learning from each other, fighting the fight, we cannot afford to lose, and as you saw earlier, we are also involved in humanitarian aid because just as we are delighted, proud to help you win that war in that city we now have to, we will support in winning the peace,” Turnbull said. (Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)