The federal government has announced that Australia will transition its support under Operation Augury-Philippines to an enhanced defence co-operation program as of next month.
The announcement was made by Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, within the margins of the ADMM-Plus in Bangkok, with the pair saying the boosted co-operation reinforced a shared long-term commitment to countering the regional terrorist threat and building on the well-established bilateral defence relationship.
This arrangement will begin as of 1 December 2019.
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 co-operation has included essential land-based activities focused on urban combat and joint co-ordination skills; air training focused on enhancing air co-ordination in the urban environment; and maritime training activities.
"Thanks to #YourADF who’ve trained <10,000 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under Op AUGURY since the Marawi Siege. At #ADMM+ Secretary Lorenzana & I announced #ADF counter terrorism support will continue under an enhanced DCP," Minister Reynolds tweeted out following the announcement.
Minister Reynolds and Secretary Lorenzana agreed an enhanced defence co-operation program will allow the Australian Defence Force to continue delivering the capacity-building support for counter-terrorism co-operation 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 co-operation program will strengthen their shared commitment to regional security and stability.
Operation Augury-Philippines sees the deployment of around 100 ADF personnel, from the Australian Navy, Army and Air Force, as well as Royal Australian Navy vessels working on occasion with the Philippine Navy in the Sulu and Celebes seas.