MANILA - The Philippine Navy said acquiring submarines is part of the plan to modernize the military, but admitted it won't be easy and can’t happen overnight.
Nonetheless, an office to handle the development of submarine capability has been put up, said Navy chief Vice Admiral Jesus Millan.
“What we are pursuing of course is to take the initiative. The first important thing is to acknowledge the importance of such capability for our future requirements,” he said.
He said the office can help the military gain knowledge of a new defense capability.
“That is why, our initial step in the Navy is to establish an office to start learning about this discipline. It’s important that we learn about it and prepare our troops who will be involved in the development of such capability,” said Millan.
Navy vice commander Rear Adm. Caesar Taccad said in December that the submarines can be used as “deterrence.”
The Philippines is embroiled in a dispute with several nations over ownership of the potentially oil-rich West Philippine Sea. China is aggressively pursuing its claim via reclamation in several islands and reefs within the area.
Taccad had said the submarines will serve as a deterrent “so other countries will not try to interfere with our [peaceful] exercise of sovereignty over our maritime areas.”
Millan said the submarines, “can bring a lot of help to us. As you can see, there are instances that it can perform non-traditional roles, even in search and rescue or in doing things that are beyond the capabilities of surface assets. These things can help us.”