Bongbong Marcos vows continued support for AFP’s modernization program
President Marcos on Tuesday promised his continued support for the military’s modernization amid geopolitical tensions and challenges posed by terrorism and natural disasters. “While we strive to live in peace with others, it is still crucial that our Armed Forces be modernized so that it is ready for all eventualities,” the President said during the turnover of a new aircraft and ground-based air defense system (GBADS) to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Tuesday.
“It is for this reason, that we strengthen our country’s capabilities in territorial defense, counterterrorism and internal security,” he added.
The PAF received its long-sought sophisticated ground-based air defense system intended to protect the archipelagic nation by averting air attacks.
Mr. Marcos witnessed the turnover of the Spyder (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) medium-range GBADS from Israel to the PAF in a ceremony at Basa Air Base in Pampanga.
The PAF also received a CASA C-295 medium-lift transport plane from Spain, its sixth aircraft of such type in its fleet.
“The arrival of the GBADS is a welcome addition and the first of its kind of our air defense capability, while the arrival of C-295 will not only supplement maritime patrols but also provide much needed airlift support during disasters and calamities,” PAF chief Lt. Gen. Connor Anthony Canlas said.
The Department of National Defense signed a deal with Israel Ministry of Defense and manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems for three batteries of the Spyder GBADS in 2019 for P6.8 billion as part of the Horizon 2 of the Philippine military’s modernization program.
The first two batteries arrived in September while the third would be delivered in 2024.
The Spyder air defense missile system is designed to protect critical installations, land-based fixed assets, mobile platforms and friendly forces from aerial threats such as combat aircraft, attack helicopters, drones, incoming missiles, guided munition and rockets.
Mr. Marcos said a modernized military would help ensure peace in the country, citing that when a nation enjoys peace, there is stability and progress.
According to him, peace could only be achieved “when there is security” and “when you know that you can protect yourself, your possessions, and those you hold dear.” INQ