Source: Phil Star
MANILA, Philippines — Washington has reportedly stepped up its military cooperation with the Philippines by launching a new assistance mission here that would allow the Southeast Asian nation to receive the same appropriation used in funding US counterterrorism operations in the Middle East.
The Pentagon had reportedly renamed its anti-terrorism mission in the Philippines from “Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines” to “Operation Pacific Eagle,” marking a new phase of counterterrorism efforts here and in the region.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the intensified US military mission here started last September after the Philippine government requested for more assistance in defeating ISIS-backed militants that laid siege to the principal Islamic city of Marawi.
Being an Overseas Contingency Operation, or OCO, funds for the new US mission in the Philippines typically are exempt from “limits on routine spending” and have financed US wars on terror, the WSJ explained.
However, it was not clear why the Trump administration did not announce the ramped up US mission at the time it was launched.