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SLUG: 2-290444 Philippines / Wolfowitz
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=06/03/02

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=PHILIPPINES/WOLFOWITZ (S)

NUMBER=2-290444

BYLINE=HEDA BAYRON

DATELINE=HONG KONG

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: The United States and the Philippines are considering extending joint anti-terror military exercises in the southern Philippines aimed at eliminating the Muslim extremist group, Abu Sayyaf. As Heda Bayron reports, some Philippine lawmakers are opposed to the plan.

TEXT: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz met with Philippine President Gloria Arroyo to discuss keeping U-S soldiers in the southern Philippines beyond the current six-month joint military exercise - slated to end in July.

A thousand American soldiers are training the Philippine army in fighting the Abu Sayyaf, which Washington has linked to the al-Qaida terrorist network.

There is also talk of having U-S troops accompany the Philippine military on its patrols.

But Philippine lawmakers, like Representative Apolinario Lozada, have expressed reservations.

/// LOZADA ACT ///

I think it would cause problems because that would mean taking into consideration provisions of our Constitution.

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Philippine law prohibits foreign troops from engaging in combat. Mr. Wolfowitz says U-S troops will not be involved in fighting - because the intention is to improve the capability of Philippine troops to do the job themselves. (Signed)

NEB/HK/HB/JO



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