US ambassador: $100M military grant soon available

The Philippines is one step closer to receiving a $100 million grant in military modernization support from the United States, US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson said Monday.

“The US State Department has now notified the US Congress of its intent to make available $100 million in foreign military financing to be used for defense modernization according to the needs of the Philippine Department of National Defense,” Carlson told reporters in her official residence in Makati City.

She noted that the government could use the offer to offset future military helicopter purchases, stressing that the United State would not dictate the modernization efforts within the DND.

The grant came after the Philippine government scrapped a $227.35 million deal between the Philippines and Russia due to possible sanctions over the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

In August, Manila Ambassador to Washington Jose Romualdez announced that the move was made to this was to avoid possible US sanctions linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

For its part, the United States expressed its gratitude to the Philippines for abandoning the deal with its rival superpower country.

“We are very grateful to the government of the Philippines for making the decision, especially in the wake of Russia’s illegal attack of an unprovoked war in Ukraine to cancel the helicopter deal,” Carlson said.

‘Friend, partners, allies’

Carlson assured the United States will continue to be a friend, partner, and ally to the Philippines, especially in ensuring safe waters for all in the disputed waters.

“We’re looking at various types of joint cooperative maritime activities that we can do together,” she said.

“It doesn’t have to be joint patrol per se, but whatever makes sense, I will leave the specifics of that, of course, to our two great militaries,” she added.

Likewise, the US official said that the Philippines can count on the United States in areas including business, trade, and people-to-people ties.

Carlson said the country could expect more high-level visits by US officials in the country.

“We have to save something for next year, right?” she quipped when asked about the possible state visit of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Washington.

Marcos met with US President Joe Biden in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last September.

“Certainly, President Biden has extended his invitation to President Marcos to visit Washington,” she said.

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