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US military chief reiterates support for AFP

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 12:10:00 06/02/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The highest official of the United States military reiterated his country’s support for the Philippines’ counterterrorism and modernization efforts, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Lieutenant General Alexander Yano said.

Yano and his staff met in his Camp Aguinaldo office with Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for 30 minutes on Monday. It was the second time the top US military official visited the Philippines.

“[We discussed] the support and assistance of the armed forces and government of the United States [for] our armed forces, particularly in capability upgrade and modernization, and our war against terror,” Yano told reporters after the closed-door meeting.

“Just [to] sustain what they [US military] have started. There [was] some assistance in terms of funds, but there is nothing new, and of course technical support,” he added.

Also present at the meeting were the AFP major service commanders, the Army’s Lieutenant General Victor Ibrado, and Navy chief Vice Admiral Rogelio Calunsag.

Yano said Mullen’s visit “manifests the importance of robust RP-US relationship that has spanned several years.”

The AFP chief said he accompanied Mullen to the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) headquarters in Zamboanga City Sunday to call regional military commander Lieutenant General Nelson Allaga.

But the Thursday bomb attack in the southern city, which killed two people and wounded scores others, was not discussed, Yano said. He described the incident as “too small” a topic for Mullen.

Mullen also did not update the AFP on the progress of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) testing on the alleged remains of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) explosives expert Dulmatin, a key suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings, who the local military believes was killed in an encounter in Tawi-Tawi province in late January this year.

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Written by joelguinto

MonUTC2008-06-02T16:40:54+00:00UTC06bUTCMon, 02 Jun 2008 16:40:54 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm06

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