Back in April, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte sounded like a man confident his country could punish ISIS fighters that had infiltrated his country. The man they call the ‘Trump of East’ has similarly claimed, as his United States counterpart has in the past, that ISIS would be no match for him. Now, ironically, some two months after claiming he would personally eat the livers of ISIS fighters with salt and vinegar, Duterte has called on the U.S. to step in and help him in his fight against terrorism.
The U.S. Embassy in Manila has announced that US Special Operations Forces are providing assistance to the Philippines in their fight for the city of Marawi. The embassy reported that U.S. forces were present in the region at the request of the Filipino government, but could not give detail for “security reasons” according to CNN:
“As we have in the past, we routinely consult with our Filipino partners at senior levels to support the Duterte administration’s counter terrorism efforts,”
“The United States is a proud ally of the Philippines, and we will continue to work with the Philippines to address shared threats to the peace and security of our countries, including on counter terrorism issues.”
Some U.S. authorities are claiming that the U.S. is providing just technical support in the Philippines fight with ISIS-related militants, although these reports have yet to be confirmed. The Philippines has had a rough go of it recently in their fight against militants that have reportedly sworn allegiance to Islamic State. 13 Filipino marines were killed in fierce firefights against the reported ISIS fighters on Friday and the fighting had gripped the city since militants first struck at the end of May. It’s to be seen just how involved the United States gets in efforts to push back against ISIS in the Philippines, but Duterte and Trump’s budding relationship and their shared hatred for terrorism point to the pair working together in the future.