'PH close to attaining minimum defense posture'

Posted at 07/21/14 10:50 PM

MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is nearing its “minimum defense posture” plan, which could help protect the country’s rights over disputed seas.

“Minimum credible defense posture” means the establishment of an effective force presence inside the Philippines and its exclusive economic zone with exhibited competence to defend the country and protect its national interests if and when the need arises.

“This includes the ability to conduct wide surveillance and monitoring of developments within the country’s territory, and have an extensive command and control as well as the capacity to provide an expedient and efficient response to untoward incidents," Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.

By the end of 2014, 14 projects worth P6.2 billion are expected to be completed. The projects include the delivery of assault rifles for the Philippine Army (PA) and Philippine Marines, additional UH-1H helicopters for the Philippine Air Force (PAF), close combat optics, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) equipment.

More will be delivered in 2015. These include 10 projects worth P17.3 billion: the delivery of armored vehicles for the PA, attack helicopters, combat utility helicopters, light lift and medium lift aircrafts for the PAF, and naval helicopters for the Philippine Navy (PN).

The first two units of the 12 FA-50 lead-in fighter/trainers worth P18.9 billion from South Korea are also expected to arrive next year.

"We are getting closer to our desired state in terms of capability and readiness with our recent acquisitions, and those we are expecting to be delivered in the next few months," Gazmin said.

He said the assets can also be used during disasters.

The revised AFP modernization program for 2013-2017 has a budget of P 85.3 billion, which will be spread out over a five-year period.

From 2013-2017, P 8.6 billion will be allocated to the PA, P 43.3 billion to the PAF, P 28.2 billion to the PN; and P5.2 billion to the AFP General Headquarters.