MANILA - President Aquino reiterated Thursday that new weapons and military vehicles will soon be coming in to beef up the country's defenses.
The President said the government has already spent P40 billion in upgrades and modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the past four years. He said this is better than the P26 billion that his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, spent on AFP modernization in nearly 10 years in office.
Aquino said that under his leadership, the Philippines has acquired the following:
2 Hamilton Class Cutters
8 Sokol Combat Utility Helicopters
3 AW-109 naval helicopters
4 refurbished UH-1 helicopters
BRP Tagbanua, a locally built landing craft utility ship
The President said the military is expecting the arrival of two of 12 FA-50 lead-in fighter trainer jets next year, while the rest will arrive before 2017.
Other additional military equipment to be received by the AFP include 17 refurbished UH-1 helicopters, eight more combat utility helicopters, two long-range patrol aircraft, six close-air support aircraft, two anti-submarine helicopters, two frigates and three full missile capable multi-purpose attack crafts.
The President said the AFP has received the first batch of new M4 Caliber 5.56mm rifles. He said the government saved P1.2 billion during the procurement process, which allowed the purchase of another 12,657 M4s "and to set aside a budget for succeeding rifle procurements."
"We have no plans of slowing down. Anytime we have an opportunity to make our military more efficient, we have every intention of taking that opportunity," he said.
Aquino stressed the country's military modernization has nothing to do with ongoing territorial rows in the region.
"Lest anyone accuse us of shifting to a more militaristic position, I must emphasize: Our efforts seek to modernize the capabilities of our security sector is to address the needs in human disaster response arenas and for our own internal defense. None of these actions are meant to increase tensions in the region; rather, they are meant to address our domestic problems and issues," he said.