Upgrading of AFP facilities eyed

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Armed Forces of the Philippines. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The government is looking into upgrading some of its facilities as it makes way for the assets it will acquire using the P75-billion worth of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Modernization funds.

Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo of finance, munitions, installations and materiel did not elaborate but said in a press briefing on Wednesday that a portion of the modernization funds are for upgrading facilities that will host the delivered equipment, which will include hangars and berthing facilities.

The official did not further elaborate on their plans for the country’s military bases but said that they are eyeing the upgrading of the naval base in Cebu.

As for Subic, which was once a US military base, Manalo said there was “no definite decision” yet but said there were plans to turn over Subic to the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy.

On Wednesday, the Department of National Defense unveiled some of its 24 projects that it will undertake through the AFP modernization funds.

Some of the items in the pipeline that would help the military to achieve a “minimum deterrence capability” include: radar systems, close air support aircraft, combat utility helicopters, lead in fighter trainers, and flight simulators.

The DND is also looking into acquiring two brand new frigates under an P18-billion budget, as well as amphibious assault vehicles, helicopters and multi-purpose attack craft.

“Lahat ng 24 project na yan ang ating objective ay ma-deliver at magamit ng Sandatahang Lakas within the term of the President…upang lahat ng ’to magamit sa madaling panahon,” he told reporters.

(Our objective is to deliver these 24 projects so that the Armed Forces can use this within the President’s term…to utilize these immediately.)

Manalo said that these items are already in “various stages of implementation.”

He also stressed the need to modernize the Armed Forces in the face of territorial disputes, but clarified upgrading the Philippines’ military assets is not meant to wage war against any country.

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