MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Philippines will be helping the US in its campaign against the militant Islamic State, but not by sending troops, a Department of Foreign Affairs official said Wednesday.
In an interview in Malacañang, DFA spokesman Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said the Philippines has yet to determine what form of assistance it will extend to the US.
Jose, however, ruled out the deployment of Filipino soldiers to beef up US military forces conducting air strikes on territories occupied by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“Initially, iyon ang position natin. We will not send ground troops,” the DFA spokesman said.
Jose likewise maintained that the Philippines will only “contribute something that is doable” in the US campaign against the ISIS.
“Aalamin muna natin kung ano ang wishlist ng US and then aalamin natin kung ano ang pwede nating i-contribute,” he said.
Last week, President Benigno Aquino III said the Philippines is willing to help in the US’ efforts to combat the ISIS.
Aquino tasked the DFA to meet with the US State Department to discuss how the Philippines can help in the campaign against the ISIS.
Jose said he is still awaiting information on whether Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario has already met with US officials.
Last month, the US launched a broad campaign against the Islamic State militant group. The campaign already got the support of some countries, including Germany and the United Kingdom.
The Islamic State jihadists control large swathes of Iraqi and Syrian territory, and have been accused of atrocities in these areas, such as the beheading of journalists.
Filipino rebel groups such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Abu Sayyaf have reportedly pledged allegiance to the ISIS.
The Philippine military, however, has yet to confirm reports that Islamic State jihadists had recruited Filipinos. (MNS)