AFP modernization to continue under Duterte administration

MANILA — The modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will continue under President Rodrigo Duterte, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has said.

The AFP Modernization Program, now on its Second Horizon, will continue as planned, he said.

The Second Horizon runs from 2018 to 2022 and will see the acquisition of equipment more attuned to external defense missions.

Lorenzana earlier said the AFP Modernization Program remains a priority of the new defense leadership as the program jibes with the Duterte administration’s plan to have a credible deterrence to secure Philippine territory, especially its maritime areas.

He said that while some projects may be fast-tracked to address criminality, terrorism and insurgency in the southern Philippines, the defense department will follow the plans laid for the AFP Modernization Program.

Some of the equipment acquired under the program are three Hamilton-class cutters, the latest of which is the BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17) that arrived last Dec.9; six multi-purpose assault craft; 114 armored personnel carriers; three brand-new C-295 medium lift aircraft; three C-130 heavy transport; four FA-50PH light-interim fighter aircraft, the last two jets arriving last Dec. 1; five utility versions of the AgustaWestland AW-109 helicopters and eight of its attack versions; five landing craft heavies; three multi-purpose attack craft; and two strategic sealift vessels.