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US backs PHL in fight vs terrorists

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US-PHL BALIKATAN EXERCISES. Officials of the Philippines and the United States opened the yearly Balikatan (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) military exercises early May. Shown at the opening ceremonies are (from left) Lt. Gen.l Oscar T. Lactao, U.S. Ambassador Sung Y. Kim, Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenzana, Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ariel Y. Abadilla, Armed Forces chief of staff General Eduardo M. Año, and Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson.


MANILA/WASHINGTON (PhilAmPress) — The United States condemned the terrorists in Marawi City as it expressed support to the Philippines' counter-terrorism efforts, according to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.


In a statement issued in Washington on May 25, Spicer said: "The United States condemns the recent violence perpetrated by an ISIS-linked terrorist group in the southern Philippines."


"These cowardly terrorists killed Philippine law enforcement officials and endangered the lives of innocent citizens," he added.


"The United States will continue to provide support and assistance to Philippine counterterrorism efforts," Spicer said. 


"The United States is a proud ally of the Philippines, and we will continue to work with the Philippines to address shared threats to the peace and security of our countries," he added.


 U.S. Ambassador to Manila Kim Sung also expressed support the government in it fight against terrorism.


"As a proud ally, the U.S. will continue to provide support for PH counterterrorism efforts," Ambassador Kim said in a Twitter post.


The U.S. ambassador also expressed sympathies for families affected by the attack.


"Concerned about the continued violence in Marawi. My condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims," he said in a separate Twitter post.


Earlier, the US Embassy in a post on its website stated: "We are aware of the reports regarding martial law in Mindanao and are following the situation.  The Embassy offers sincere condolences to friends and family of the police officer and soldiers who lost their lives in Marawi in the name of democracy."


The U.S. Embassy, at the same time, cautioned U.S. citizens on the an ongoing conflict between terrorist groups and Philippine Security Forces in Marawi City.. 


The U.S. Embassy has temporarily suspended Mission personnel travel to Mindanao pending a better understanding of the threat environment, it said.


" While the U.S. Embassy has no information that the events in Marawi City represent a direct threat to U.S. citizens or U.S. interests in the Philippines, we encourage U.S. citizens to review personal security plans, avoid large crowds and gatherings, and remain vigilant at all times," the embassy added.


 "The U.S. Embassy wishes to remind U.S. citizens of the most recent Worldwide Caution, dated March 6, 2017, which indicates there is an ongoing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests abroad, including the Philippines.  Extremists have targeted sporting events, theaters, markets, mass transportation systems–including airlines, and other public venues where large crowds gather. Crowded nightclubs, shopping malls, buses and popular restaurants have also been targets." the US Embassy warned.


"U.S. citizens should be mindful of the importance of taking preventative measures to ensure their safety and security while traveling and residing in the Philippines‎" the statement concluded. (Alfred Gabot/PhilAmPress)

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