MANILA — There is an urgent need for the Philippines to upgrade and modernize its Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force to prevent other countries from encroaching on its territory especially the maritime ones.
“We should have strengthen our Coast Guard 10 years (so that intruders) cannot encroached on our territories. That’s the purpose now of our (modernization program) to give our Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force a minimum credible deterrent so that our territories will not just be encroach upon,” he added.
The DND chief stressed that the Philippines is not in a position to prevent China from constructing more of their man-made islands despite the ruling of the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration last July 12.
“I don’t think they will listen to us, (if they will do that, they will just continue doing that) despite our objections, we can’t do anything, so we’ll just watch them do that because we don’t have any capability to prevent them from doing that,” he stressed.
Lorenzana earlier said the DND will still continue with AFP Modernization Program which jives with their long term plans of having credible deterence to secure Philippine territory.
And while some projects may be fast-tracked to address criminality, terrorism, and insurgency threats in the southern Philippines, Lorenzana said the they will follow the plans laid for the AFP Modernization Program.
“The 15-year modernization program of the AFP will continue as scheduled,” he earlier stated.
Some of the equipment acquired in this period include the two Hamilton-class cutters, six multi-purpose assault craft, 114 armored personnel carriers, three brand-new C-295 medium lift aircraft, two C-130 heavy transports, two FA-50PH light-interim fighter aircraft, five utility versions of the AgustaWestland AW-109 helicopters, eight of its attack versions, five landing craft heavies, three multi-purpose attack craft, and two strategic sealift vessels.
Lorenzana said the DND will continue to honor contracts, especially those in the pipeline.
“We study it for while and if there are no problems, then we will approve it,” he added. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA/northboundasia.com