Palace shrugs off report ranking AFP as ‘world’s 6th worst army’
Noting that the administration remains committed to its promise of rejuvenating the Philippine military, Malacañang on Thursday downplayed a report which ranked the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as the world’s sixth worst army.
Reacting to the list released by “We Are The Mighty,” a group of former US soldiers, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said more AFP modernization projects are underway.
“Sa simula’t sapul ay kinilala ng Aquino administration ang kahalagahan ng pagpapahusay sa mga kagamitan ng ating Sandatahang Lakas,” Coloma told reporters in a press briefing.
“Binanggit ni Pangulong Aquino sa kanyang huling State of the Nation Address na sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang pamamahala, mayroong total of 56 projects sa AFP Modernization Program ang naipatupad at nakumpleto, kumpara sa 45 doon sa mga proyektong naisagawa noong mga nakaraang administrasyon,” he added.
“We Are The Mighty” named AFP as the sixth worst army in the world, behind Costa Rica, Iraq, North Korea, Eritrea, and Nigeria.
The group said the Philippine Navy and Air Force “are still nearly 60 years old and its ships are old US Coast Guard cutters.”
But Coloma said the “big-ticket items” being acquired by the government for the military were concrete proofs of its modernization efforts.
Among these assets, Coloma said, were two navy frigates worth P18-billion, three air surveillance radars worth P2.68-billion, six close air support aircraft worth P4.97-billion, two units of long-range patrol aircraft worth P5.98-billion, multipurpose attack craft project worth P864.32-million, night fighting system worth P1.116-billion, two C-130 aircraft worth P1.6-billion, two naval helicopters worth P5.4-billion, and lead-in fighter trainer jets ammunition worth P4.47-billion.
“Batid po natin na sa kasalukuyan hinihintay ‘yung delivery ng isang squadron—parang isang dosena yata ‘yon—na mga fighter jets na galing sa Korea. Kaya makikita natin ‘yung kongkretong manipestasyon ng ibayong pagsisikap na gawing moderno ang ating Sandatahang Lakas at ito ay pinapatunayan sa pamamagitan ng pagkuha ng mga pinakamodernong kagamitan na gagamitan ng ating army, navy, at air force,” Coloma added.
The AFP modernization program is still under fire as President Benigno Aquino III has yet to sign the national defense strategy plan two years after the bill was signed into law.
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