Monday, June 1, 2009

English Education Workshop Part of Comprehensive Approach to Philippines Counter-terror Effort

A recent Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)-sponsored English education workshop in the Southern Philippines is an example of a continuing focus on increasing opportunities for those in areas traditionally affected by violent extremism.

A Philippine Information Agency news release explains the English program, designed to support a Philippines initiative to strengthen English as a second language in the nation’s education system.

At the request of the Government of the Philippines, approximately 600 U.S. service members are deployed to the Southern Philippines in an advisory role in support of the Philippines’ effort to eliminate terrorist safe-havens by increasing the capacity of the AFP, and through civic and humanitarian projects in coordination with other U.S. and Philippine Government agencies.

During his May 30 remarks at the Shangri-La Dialogue Asia security summit in Singapore, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stressed the value of a defense strategy that places ever greater emphasis on capacity building and a mix of so-called “hard” and “soft” elements of national power – where military, diplomatic, economic, cultural, and humanitarian elements are integrated seamlessly.

The Pacific Command (PACOM) Strategy links PACOM activities and operations, such as those conducted in the Philippines and throughout Asia-Pacific, to U.S. Government policy and the strategic objectives outlined by Secretary Gates.

Secretary Gates visited the Philippines June 1, following the Shangri-La Dialogue, and reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to supporting the Philippines’ efforts to defeat terrorists and extremists.

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