Three years and millions of dollars later, counter terrorism efforts in the Philippines have not made a “substantial difference,” a Defense Department Inspector General report found.
Since 2017, the U.S. has supported the Armed Forces of the Philippines in fighting terrorism through Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines. However, the strength and influence of extremist groups in the region have remained unchanged, the IG report published on Tuesday said. Additionally, the Philippine government diverted resources from counter terrorism to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since the outset of Lead IG reporting on OPE-P in 2018, we have seen little progress in improving the economic, social, and political conditions in that part of the country,” DoD IG Sean O’Donnell said in the report.