MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) is set to complete the purchase from the Italian government of two Maestrale-class frigates, which are expected to bolster security over the country’s maritime interests, such as the Spratly Islands.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said that while the process is nearing completion, “the government selling the Maestrale has made an offer and we have a counter-offer.”
The DND first announced plans of purchasing the frigates, first commissioned by the Italian Navy in the 1980s.
Gazmin said the warships may cost P11.7 billion.
Asked what the counter-offer is all about, Gazmin only said: "They are offering a package. Now, we cannot afford the capability that they were offering so we made a counter-offer for the capability that we can afford."
He did not explain further.
The Philippine military already has two Hamilton-class cutters that were acquired under the US Excess Defense Articles Program. The ships are called BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz. The latter will arrive in February.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Benigno Aquino III also earlier signed an accord for the procurement of military equipment. Aquino said this will help the country’s efforts in building its defense capabilities.