PH can learn from Singaporean efforts to counter violent extremism

MANILA-- The Philippines can learn a lot from Singapore in combating violent extremism.

This was stressed by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana during the visit of his Singaporean counterpart, Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, early this week.

"We could certainly learn from Singapore's own approaches in countering violent extremism, specifically in the way you deal with Islamic schools and returning foreign fighters. We are certainly interested in your methods of proactively preventing your citizens from imbibing radical views and in reforming those who have been radicalized," he added.

Lorenzana also said the visit of the Singaporean defense chief is a manifestation of the two nations increasingly robust defense relations.

Earlier, the DND chief expressed his appreciation for Singapore's intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) offer and other assistance for the ongoing conflict with remaining Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City.

Agreeing in principle as regards to Singapore's offer, Lorenzana instructed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to examine the ISR capabilities that Singapore is ready to provide.

Also, Singapore's provision of C-130 to help transport supplies and provision of training regarding building up cities are things the AFP could readily avail of, the DND chief stressed.

Conflict in Marawi City started when government troops tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and ISIS "emir" in Southeast Asia last May 23.

In the same visit, Ng also offered the utilization of Singapore's Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Center to galvanize foreign contributions for the reconstruction of Marawi.

Originally put up to coordinate foreign assistance to Southeast Asian countries devastated by natural calamities, Ng said that the center could likewise be used for Marawi City's rehabilitation.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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