The Philippines has denied reports that the Pentagon could begin attacking Islamic militants behind the siege of Marawi City with drone strikes.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces chief Eduardo Ano said there were no discussions with the United States regarding airstrikes against local targets, Philstar newspaper reported.
The Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States does not allow such a measure, Ano was reported as saying.
In addition, the Department of National Defence said in a statement, "direct military actions are only allowed during actual foreign invasion by another state actor. Hence, such a proposition has to undergo a process and an agreement must be reached that should have the approval of both the highest officials of our nations.”
NBC news reported quoting unnamed US defense officials about plans to have American troops granted the authority to strike through armed drones, ISIS-inspired militants in Marawi.
If approved, the U.S. military would be able to conduct strikes against ISIS targets in the Philippines that could be a threat to allies in the region, which would include the Philippine forces battling ISIS on the ground in the country's southern islands.
The US recently provided two used Cessna aircraft equipped with surveillance sensors to provide a real-time view of the battle in Marawi where the Philippine Army is hampered by lack of real-time data of the battlefield.
US drone strikes against Islamic militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan have drawn widespread criticism of significant collateral damage.