US hands over 6 surveillance drones to Philippines

The US handed over six surveillance drones to its ally the Philippines on Tuesday. The move is part of efforts to boost Manila’s ability to tackle a growing threat from Islamist militants and to respond to natural disasters. The six Boeing Insitu ScanEagle drones, which have two cameras and can operate for up to 24 hours on a single run, were financed through a $13.7-million grant from Washington’s foreign military assistance program, Reuters reported. The deal follows the transfer of two single-engine surveillance planes last year. The Philippines plans to deploy the drones for surveillance against militants and pirates, and for surveying the aftermath of disasters like typhoons, mudslides and earthquakes.