NO AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE OPERATIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES
Articles in the Australian and some international media, principally in News Limited newspapers, are wrong.
The Australian Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Pablo Kang said “The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has not been involved in counter-terrorism operations in the Philippines’.
In March this year, and at the invitation of the Philippine Government, one special forces officer observed the joint United States and Philippines’ Exercise Balikatan in Zamboanga.
This exercise undertakes civil-military activities and does not involve operations. The Australian officer was observing the US-Philippines exercise planning process and at no time was he involved in operations of any kind.
As announced in October 2005, the Australian Department of Defence is working with the Philippines to develop an Army watercraft capability of up to 30 boats suitable for patrolling the riverine and marshland areas of Mindanao. This will not involve ADF operations in the Philippines.
Over several years, the ADF has undertaken annual counter-hijack training in the Philippines, as we do with other regional countries. This activity does not involve operations.
Australia does not have any ADF personnel deployed to the Philippines on operations.
The Australian Government respects the Philippines’ Constitution, which prohibits operations with foreign forces without a treaty-level agreement.