MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is hoping that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will continue with the military modernization program, a project given priority by the outgoing administration for the past six years.
“We are hoping and praying that the programs that we have launched in this (Aquino) administration would be supported by the next (Duterte) administration, because after all this is not for the AFP alone, it is for the Filipinos, it is for the country, it is to defend its national interest,” AFP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said in an interview.
During the Aquino administration, significant progress has been made in the implementation of the AFP Capability Upgrade and Modernization Program where PHP60.14 billion has been released from July 10, 2010 to April this year for the Army, Navy and Air Force.
Some of the equipment acquired in this period include the two Hamilton-class cutters, six multi-purpose assault craft, 113 armored personnel carriers, three brand-new C-295 medium lift aircraft, two C-130 heavy transports, two FA-50PH light-interim fighter aircraft and eight attack versions of the AgustaWestland AW-109 “Power” helicopters, five landing craft heavies and two strategic sealift vessels to name a few.
Padilla said it is crucial for the country to continue with the military’s modernization program so potential aggressors will think twice of taking on the AFP or violating Philippine territory.
“(Military forces) are respected if they have the capability (to deter and defend their states),” he added.
Earlier, Padilla said the AFP will render a final and simple tribute Monday afternoon to President Aquino in front of GHQ Grandstand, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
“The AFP as a whole will render its final tribute to the outgoing President & Commander-in-Chief (CinC) this Monday afternoon. All the AFP’s top brass as well as those who served under his administration as AFP senior leaders are expected to attend,” he added.
Other government dignitaries were also invited to attend the activities.
The tribute is also to show the AFP’s appreciation for Aquino’s efforts in the military capability upgrade program.
“The AFP capability build up under the outgoing administration has been the best so far for the AFP and greatly exceeds the support provided by the last three administrations combined,” Padilla said.
“However, in contrast to previous parades, there will be no Air Force fly-by during this testimonial for the CinC this Monday. The toned down ceremonies are in keeping with the desire of the outgoing CinC to keep the ceremonies as simple as possible without sacrificing the necessary military protocols, customs and tradition entailed during the activity,” Padilla said.
He added Monday’s ceremonies will be the final military parade to honor and pay tribute to the CinC and is the AFP’s expression of gratitude for the leadership and support provided by the Honoree for the institution. PNA/northboundasia.com