‘Congress support’ needed to remove AFP’s worst army tag
THE Armed Forces of the Philippines has played down a report that it is ranked as the world’s sixth worst army.
“Overall, we are on track to fulfill our vision of building up a truly capable armed force that can project a credible defense posture by 2028,” AFP spokesperson Col. Restituto Padilla said on Thursday.
A group of former US soldiers called “We are the Mighty” released a list of the worst armies in the world. Leading the top five were Costa Rica, Iraq, North Korea, Eritrea and Nigeria.
The group noted that the Philippines’ naval and air forces are nearly 60 years old and its ships are US Coast Guard cutters.
“We view the article with an open mind and see this as an opportunity to once again call on the legislative to support an expedited and sustained capability upgrade of your armed forces,” AFP spokesperson Col. Restituto Padilla said.
He admitted that they have lagged in terms of modernization but said that President Benigno Aquino III has “done more for the AFP than the three administrations combined.”
“He has caused the extension of the earlier failed modernization program and approved the funding of appropriate equipment to safeguard our skies, our seas and our land,” Padilla said.
He said that soon there will be FA-50 fighters for the Air Force, and they have acquired helicopters and fixed wing transport and additional C-130s to boost their humanitarian assistance and disaster response activities.
The President also approved the funding for sea vessels and new frigates, as well as new rifles, tanks, trucks, ambulances, force protection and communication gear.
“We may still be a long way ahead but rest assured that the foundations for capability building are already there, especially if Congress can help fast track all these initiatives with the appropriate funding requirements,” Padilla said.
He also stressed that more than the equipment, the most important asset of any armed forces is its people.
“The man behind the trigger, so to speak, is what makes an armed force. In this respect, our soldiers are at par even with the soldiers of the most modern armed forces. We are proud of our soldiers and for what they can do for our country and people,” Padilla said.
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