MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Thursday that the military modernization that he initiated when he assumed office is meant to upgrade the country for disaster response and internal defense.
“Our efforts seek to modernize the capabilities of our security sector is to address the needs in human disaster response arenas and for our own internal defense. None of these actions are meant to increase tensions in the region; rather, they are meant to address our domestic problems and issues,” he said during his speech to open the Asian Defense, Security and Crisis Management (ADAS) Exhibition 2014 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
President Aquino said that since he assumed office in 2010, he has released P40 billion to modernize and upgrade the capabilities of the military.
“Compare this to the P26 billion that my predecessor released in a span of nearly 10 years. On top of this, we made it a point to follow a procurement process that is fair, transparent, and strategic,” he said.
The Commander-in-Chief noted that over the past four years, his administration has acquired two Hamilton Class Cutters for the Navy — the BRP Gregorio del Pilar and the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, eight Sokol Combat Utility Helicopters, three AW-109 naval helicopters, four refurbished UH-1 helicopters, and the BRP Tagbanua, the first locally-built landing craft utility ship, among others.
The government has already received the first batch of M4 Caliber 5.56 mm rifles, and expects that all 50,629 units shall have been distributed by the end of the year, he added.
“Because of our fair and transparent procurement process, we have saved P1.2 billion on these rifles, which has allowed us to order another 12,657 M4s, and to set aside a budget for succeeding rifle procurements,” he said.
The President further said that the government is expecting the arrival of two out of 12 FA-50 lead-in fighter trainer jets, 17 more refurbished UH-1 helicopters, eight more combat utility helicopters, two long-range patrol aircraft, six close-air support aircraft, two anti-submarine helicopters, two frigates, three full missile capable multi-purpose attack crafts, and other equipment that will strengthen the capacity of the country’s armed forces.
“Clearly, if this event is any indication, we have no plans of slowing down. Anytime we have an opportunity to make our military more efficient, we have every intention of taking that opportunity,” the President said.