Singaporean defense minister visits Manila



By APD Writer Melo M. Acuna

MANILA, July 19 (APD) – Singaporean Defense Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen believes the challenge posed by violent extremism is a grave concern for the region.

In his call yesterday to Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, Dr. Ng said the Philippines could count on Singapore’s support in its fight against the Maute-ISIS in Marawi City.

In a statement released this morning, Defense Secretary Lorenzana expressed appreciation for Singapore’s offer to provide assistance for ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaisance) activities, transport of supplies for the rehabilitation of Marawi and training to rebuild cities like Marawi.

Minister Ng likewise offered the utilization of Singapore’s HA/DR (Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief) Center to “galvanize foreign contributions” for the reconstruction of Marawi City.

The HA/DR was originally put up to coordinate foreign assistance to Southeast Asian countries devastated by natural calamities.

Minister Ng said the facility could be used for Marawi’s rehabilitation.

Secretary Lorenzana agreed in principle to Singapore’s offer and ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to see and examine the ISR capabilities that the visiting foreign minister offered.

“We could readily avail of Singapore’s provision of C-130 to help transport supplies,” Secretary Lorenzana said.

He added the provision of training regarding building up cities are the things the AFP could readily utilize.

Both ministers expressed their respective support for each other’s chairmanship of the ASEAN.

The current chair, the Philippines, will pass on to Singapore the ASEAN chairmanship next year.