U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim sat down with select members of the local media on September 5, 2017 to announce assistance of 730 million pesos through USAID for ongoing emergency relief operations and the longer term recovery and rehabilitation of Marawi city and the surrounding area.
Ambassador Kim also talks about robust grant military assistance that features equipment and valuable training programs.
Read the transcript and watch the videos of the Ambassador’s statement below:
Ambassador Kim: Thank you all for joining us this morning. Now about nine months into my tenure here, I think I have a good sense of the depth of the US-Philippine relationship and what that relationship means to both countries. The United States is deeply committed to this partnership and remains ready to support our friend and ally as we face the challenges and opportunities ahead.
The most urgent challenge is the conflict in Marawi. Let me first offer my condolences for the loss of life, both military and civilian, during this terrible conflict. We all look forward to the end of the crisis, and the end of the fighting and suffering. We have been and will continue to support the Philippine government’s efforts to deal with the crisis.
And I am pleased to make an important announcement today: The United States government — through USAID — is making available over 730 million pesos (approximately $15 million) for ongoing emergency relief operations and the longer term recovery and rehabilitation of Marawi city and the surrounding area.
This breaks down to 153 million pesos in humanitarian assistance through USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance to deliver critical relief supplies such as safe drinking water, hygiene kits, shelter materials for evacuation centers, and for programs to protect displaced women and children.
And over 577 million pesos to support the early recovery, stabilization and rehabilitation of Marawi and the surrounding area. This money will focus on restoring basic public services, including health care, water, and electricity, jumpstarting livelihoods, and promoting community reconciliation and alternatives to violent extremism.
This is in addition to assistance already provided by USAID, including 12,000 water containers and nearly 100,000 chlorine tablets to help bring safe drinking water to families in evacuation centers; as well as 6,500 desks for temporary schools and psycho-social support for affected teachers and students.
Our Public Affairs Section will also be providing 22 million pesos for educational and informational programs that bring together students and women leaders to explore innovative ways to address the challenges facing Marawi residents.
I should note that these efforts are just the latest installment of U.S. government non-military assistance that totals 65 billion pesos in the past six years. And of course all of this work is done in close coordination with our colleagues in the Philippine government.
Our military cooperation remains an important component of our assistance. From providing ISR support through a variety of manned and unmanned systems, to sharing intelligence and information and offering technical advice, our military is working closely with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Our strong military assistance program also features equipment grants including the recently delivered two sophisticated Cessna C-208 ISR aircraft worth 1.5 billion pesos, and valuable training programs including countering IED’s, maritime interdiction, and marksmanship.
We look forward to providing additional ISR support, through technologically advanced platforms that will help the AFP both in Marawi and anywhere else terrorists may strike.
Counter-terrorism is a shared priority for both of our countries, and important for regional stability. We will continue to look for additional military and non-military ways to support the Philippine’s counter-terrorism efforts, and I expect to announce more measures and initiatives in the near future.
Thank you very much.