SLUG: 2-290444 Philippines / Wolfowitz
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.
/// END ACT ///
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)
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|