Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana announced that Australia will transition its support under Operation AUGURY-Philippines to an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program as of 1 December 2019.
The announcement, made in the margins of the ADMM-Plus in Bangkok, Thailand on 16 November, reinforced a shared long-term commitment to countering the regional terrorist threat and building on the well-established bilateral defence relationship.
Minister Reynolds and Secretary Lorenzana recognised that after the siege of Marawi in October 2017, Australia’s contribution under Operation AUGURY-Philippines has provided counter-terrorism capacity training to over 10,000 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
This training cooperation has included essential land-based activities focused on urban combat and joint coordination skills; air training focused on enhancing air coordination in the urban environment; and maritime training activities.
Minister Reynolds and Secretary Lorenzana agreed an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program will allow the Australian Defence Force to continue delivering the capacity-building support for counter-terrorism cooperation requested by the Philippines.
The Program will also provide funding certainty and greater flexibility to meet the broader needs of the Australia-Philippines bilateral defence relationship.
Minister Reynolds and Secretary Lorenzana underscored that long-term engagement under the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program will strengthen their shared commitment to regional security and stability.