China to give Philippine military additional P1-billion aid
MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese government has pledged to give P1 billion worth of new batch of military aid to the Philippines, continuing the closer relations of the two countries under President Rodrigo Duterte.
“On 25 January 2019, during my visit to China for the bilateral meeting with Maj. Gen. Ci Guowei, chief of office for International Military Cooperation, Ministry of National Defense of China, we were able to conclude the signing ceremony… on China’s provision of military gratis to the Philippines amounting to RMB130 million or equivalent to P1 billion to support our country’s requirements,” Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna said Wednesday at the handover ceremony of engineering equipment acquired from China.
He said some of the assistance he requested from the P1 billion-aid include a deployable bridge, water desalination and water purifying equipment, and ground-penetrating radar systems.
“After the signing, I requested that P1 billion will be in the form of a deployable bridge. Ang sabi ko ang problema natin sa Pilipinas ‘pag bumabagyo, maraming tulay na napuputol (I said our problem in the Philippines is when there’s typhoon, many of our bridges are destroyed),” he explained.
The bridge is seen useful for relief and rescue efforts during calamities.
The ground-penetrating radar systems, he said, will help them locate unexploded bombs in Marawi that were dropped during air strikes and are now likely buried.
“That is causing the delay of the rehabilitation in Marawi’s main battle area. As of now there are still more than 40 unaccounted for bombs that were dropped. Hindi na makita, natabunan na,” Luna said.
He said the fresh batch of assistance from China serves as “a testament to the growing bilateral exchanges” of the two countries.
On Wednesday, the Philippine military distributed to its major services the engineering equipment it bought from China. The P1.5 billion project was under Horizon 2 of the military’s modernization program.
Last year, the Philippine military also received patrol boats and rocket-propelled grenade launchers with ammunition from China. The Asian giant also gave P169 million worth of assault and sniper rifles earlier.
Duterte set aside a bitter territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) started by his predecessor in exchange of loans and investments. /kga
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