JOLO, SULU - US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie
Kenney gave hints about her government's plan to maintain a long-term
presence in Sulu.
"This is the place where we really focus on
peace, on development, we have a lot of work to do, like health
issues, educational issues," Kenney, who arrived on Wednesday,
It was Kenney's first visit to the province,
considered one of the lairs of the Abu Sayyaf.
The Abu Sayyaf, which passes itself as an Islamist
armed movement, is in Washington's target list of priority terror
US soldiers have been busy building development
projects here in a bid to stamp out local support for the bandit
group. Kenney said the presence of American soldiers was helping
efforts to bring back peace of the province.
"(They) are working with the AFP and the people
of Sulu, they are here to advise, to help bring peace and they are
doing a lot (of other things)," she said.
"Not only that their presence is good in Sulu,
but I think it's fabulous. Most of them have fallen in love with
Sulu, with the residents here. They love being here and they are
the ones who have been talking to me about great things going on
here in Sulu," she added.
Kenney said the US government would also like to help
train doctors to provide the people of Sulu access to regular medical
Among the projects that the US government wanted to
pursue is the teaching of the English language.