MALACAÑANG welcomed Saturday the donation of two new Cessna-208 Caravan aircraft by the United States government to help the Philippines fight terrorism.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the donation of two surveillance aircraft to the military signified the "strong" defense ties between the Philippines and the US.
Abella said the two long-range patrol planes from the US would help the AFP to improve its counterterrorism capabilities.
"The Armed Forces of the Philippines received two brand new Cessna–208 B Grand Caravan aircraft from the United States. These aircraft would bolster the capability and readiness of our Air Force to help address terrorism and support our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations," he said in a statement.
"This donation of the United States reaffirms the strong military alliance between the Philippines and the United States, which remains robust to this day," he added.
On Thursday, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim turned over the two C208B Caravan planes at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
Kim said the Cessna planes, which are valued at P1.67 billion, are equipped with advanced sensors, cameras and communications equipment to help the AFP improve its capability to monitor the country's coastal zones.
"These aircraft will significantly enhance the ability of the AFP to locate terrorist groups operating in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago," the US envoy said in a statement.
"The United States, as a steadfast ally of the Philippines, continues to provide support to the AFP through both grant assistance and expedited sales of arms and munitions to support both long-term AFP modernization goals and urgent counterterrorism requirements," he added. (SunStar Philippines)