Officials from the Joint US Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) have handed over weapons and other military equipment to the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) to enhance the latter's counter-terrorism capabilities.
The equipment includes 300 M4 carbines, 200 Glock 21 pistols, 4 M134D Gatling-style machine guns, and 100 M203 grenade launchers, the US embassy in Manila said in a 5 June statement.
The JUSMAG also delivered 25 new Combat Rubber Raiding Craft with outboard motors to PMC headquarters in Taguig, where PMC commandant Major General Emmanuel Salamat formally accepted delivery of the weapons during a transfer ceremony on 5 June.
The equipment, which was handed over as part of a US government grant programme, "will enhance the PMC's counter-terrorism capabilities and help protect [the] Philippine marines actively engaged in counter-terrorism operations in the southern Philippines", said the embassy, adding that the PMC's Inshore Boat Battalion and Marine Special Operations Group have already employed US counter-terrorism gear in ongoing combat operations in the area.
The delivery comes amid local media reports that as many as 400 local militants aligned with the Islamic State group stormed the Philippine city of Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on 23 May.
The government in Manila, which has imposed martial law in the area, has deployed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to the island to drive the rebels out of the city amid heavy resistance.
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