Philippine army's elite troops in Singapore for urban warfare training

Tuesday, Dec 05, 2017
Photo: Dr Ng Eng Hen/Facebook

SINGAPORE - Forty members of the Philippine Army's Special Operations Command were sent to Singapore for a two-week urban warfare training.

The training, which comes two months after the Philippines ended its five-month campaign against ISIS-linked fighters in Marawi City, is held from Dec 4 to 15, Army spokesperson Lt Col Ray Tiongson said.

In a separate Facebook post, Singapore defence minister Ng Eng Hen emphasised the need for ASEAN member states to work together to fight terrorism.

"If extremists gain a foothold in any country around us, they will launch attacks against all ASEAN cities - that is the key lesson in dealing with Al Qaeda and ISIS. These groups can be defeated, but we will be stronger and that much more effective if we do it together," he said.

The elite soldiers will train at the Murai Urban Training Facility.

"This professional exchange is mutually beneficial to SAF soldiers who would also be able to learn from their counter-terrorism fight in Marawi," Mr Ng said.

The crisis started on May 23, when government forces tried to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, who was then the purported emir of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in Southeast Asia.

The battle lasted for five months and resulted to massive displacement of civilians and deaths of close to 1,000 people.

Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana declared the termination of combat operations in Marawi City last Oct 23, a week after the deaths of Hapilon and Omar Maute, the main leaders of the siege.

Singapore offered humanitarian aid and surveillance drones during the five-month siege.