Australia affirms military support for Philippines

CLARK, Pampanga – Australian Defense Minister Senator Hon Marise Payne on October 23 said it is a great opportunity to exchange views on key security issues that challenge the region everyday such as terrorist activities.

“These are the things that enable us to work as one in a strong multilateral context and that’s what ADMM allows us to do,” Payne said as she visited the crew of the AP-3C Orion reconnaissance plane which is currently taking part in surveillance operations in Marawi City.

Payne also expressed her gratitude to the men and women belonging to the Australian Air Force and part of the Australian Defense Forces (ADF) participating in Operation Augury in support of ground units involved in the liberation of Marawi.

“We thank those men and women of the ADF for the contribution that they have made and the work that they have done and for their families for supporting them while they were away. We ask a lot of the men and women of the ADF and they answer that without question.” Payne said.

Each AP-3C Orion, normally stationed in Adelaide, Australia, is manned by a crew of 12 composed of men and women, explained Wing Commander (lieutenant colonel) Jim Collisson of the Royal Australian Air Force.

Operating mostly at night since June, the AP-3Cs fly over the main battle area (MBA) of Marawi City armed only with an electro optic system (EOS) which is essentially a large camera that can monitor any ground movements and relative positions of people, vehicles or animals.

This information was then relayed to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and processed to assist ground units operating in the MBA.

“I want to acknowledge the real contribution that our ability to work with the government of the Philippines and the AFP makes in terms of regional engagements. Australia and the Philippines share a long regional and military history and the engagement of our AP-3Cs in surveillance activities have been an extension of these relations,” Payne said. (By Albert-Anthony Abando/PNA)

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