MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) continues to upgrade its security hardware and equipment, including combat life-support facilities and platforms for the country’s soldiers. The ongoing modernization enables the AFP to perform its constitutional mandate of protecting Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity – on land, air, and at sea.
The AFP completed 18 defense and military projects in the 17 months of the Aquino administration. It acquired the BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Tagbanua on December 14, 2011. The BRP Gregorio del Pilar, acquired from the United States, is a Navy frigate deployed to patrol territorial waters while the BRP Tagbanua, a Philippine-made landing craft utility, transports combat personnel and military equipment and is used for evacuation, medical assistance, disaster, rescue, and relief missions.
Within 18 months, the AFP expects the delivery of a bullet assembly machine, case manufacturing equipment, and cartridge assembly equipment to boost the arsenal capacity. This year, the military will get eight new combat utility helicopters for the Philippine Air Force, the first of which is expected to be delivered this month. Other projects include the acquisition of coast watch requirements, engineering and utility trucks, and 33 rocket launchers for the Presidential Security Group. A total of 71 projects in the three major service commands – Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, and Philippine Air Force – and general headquarters are in the pipeline.
In the third quarter of 2011, the government approved a budget of R10 billion for equipment and training. With this fund, the Philippine Army will purchase 32 five-ton dump trucks and 55 special-purpose vehicles, while the Philippine Air Force will buy two search-and-rescue helicopters, 30 special purpose vehicles, and 15 amphibian vehicles. The acquisition of F-16 fighters will be among the issues to be discussed in strategic talks with the United States in the first quarter of 2012.
The modernization program was accelerated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ adoption of the Defense System of Management, which implements a “more prudent, efficient, and effective utilization” of resources. More projects to modernize the military establishment are being pursued. The government is committed to provide the men and women in uniform with basic needs to perform their duties and responsibilities as guardians of freedom and democracy. MABUHAY!
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