MANILA, Philippines – US President Donald Trump congratulated the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the liberation of Marawi City from local armed groups that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS).
“President Trump expressed his condolences for the tragic loss of life in Marawi City at the hands of ISIS-affiliated terrorists, and congratulated the Armed Forces of the Philippines for its success in liberating Marawi,” according to a joint statement released after the bilateral meeting between Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, November 13.
Trump also vowed the the US will continue to provide assistance in rehabilitating and reconstructing the city ravaged by 5 months of war. (READ: Marawi: 153 days and more)
The war left the city’s commercial district, Banggolo, in ruins. An estimated 10,000 families lost their homes.
On the ground, military operations continue to clear buildings for stragglers.
The two countries also vowed to increase cooperation on counterterrorism, intelligence sharing, and will conduct additional exercises.
“Both sides committed to enhance their counterterrorism cooperation through conducting additional exercises, increasing information sharing, and addressing the drivers of conflict and extremism,” the joint statement said.
The US, the oldest treaty ally of the Philippines, has a strong military-to-military cooperation with the Philippines. It flew its P3 Orion surveillance planes over Marawi to help the local troops locate enemies in the difficult urban terrain and shared intelligence information.
The US has also been training Filipino troops in urban warfare.