Palace, AFP, DND: No planned U.S. air strikes vs PH terrorists

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 8) — Top government and security officials say there's no truth to a report that the United States is planning air assaults against Daesh-inspired groups in the Philippines.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella said Tuesday that while the PH-U.S. military alliance remained "solid and robust," there were protocols under the Mutual Defense Treaty, and these do not involve having actual boots on the ground. 

"US military assistance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is limited to technical assistance, information sharing and training," Abella said in a statement.

Abella said such action was prohibited by the law and the Constitution, and there were no discussions about this with President Rodrigo Duterte.

AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Eduardo Año, similarly said such action would have to undergo a process and an agreement would be approved by highest PH and U.S. officials.

"Direct military actions are only allowed during actual foreign invasion by another state," he pointed out.

For his part, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana reiterated that no discussions regarding such air strikes had taken place at his level.

Both top security officials, however, expressed appreciation for the reported desire of the U.S. to help the country in the fight against local terrorism.