The Armed Forces modernization program’s shopping list was already approved by President Aquino, allowing the procurement of defense assets to move forward.

Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo said yesterday that the President signed the program last July 22.

He said everything except three of the upgrade projects in the shopping list have secured Aquino’s approval.

The three projects that are still being reviewed are the designated marksman rifles, the standard weapons system and the project that would have replaced the shore-based missile system whose procurement schedule was moved to a later date.

Manalo said. “These projects were not disapproved. They just need some clarifications.”

 

The big-ticket items approved by President Aquino are the following:

  1. The two Navy frigates worth P18 billion
  2. Two C-130 aircraft worth P1.6 billion
  3. Two units of long range patrol aircraft worth P5.98 billion
  4. Six close air support aircraft worth P4.97 billion
  5. Two naval helicopters worth P5.4 billion
  6. Three air surveillance radars worth P2.68 billion
  7. Multi-purpose attack craft project worth P864.32 million
  8. Night fighting system worth P1.116 billion
  9. Lead-in fighter trainer jets ammunition worth P4.47 billion.

Other items in the list includes are

  1. Army radios
  2. Thermal imaging device
  3. Field ambulance units
  4. Armored personnel carriers
  5. Flight simulators
  6. Amphibious assault vehicles
  7. Combat systems,
  8. Light utility vehicles and engineering equipment.

The shopping list also includes four basing support system and logistics projects with a total budget of P2.15 billion. These projects aim to improve existing military facilities in key areas.

This is more than P60 billion worth for the modernization program submitted to the President.

Manalo said,“The approval of the program will raise the level of capability of the Armed Forces and will help our troops perform their duty, including rescuing those who are in need in times of calamities.”

To avoid anomalies, Defense Assistant Secretary Efren Fernandez gave assurance that the procurement of the military equipment would comply with existing regulations.

In a separate interview Secretary Fernandez said, “We will see to it that the requirements will be followed. The procurement will be transparent. That has been our marching order from the start.”

Meanwhile, South Korean defense minister Han Minkoo is in the country to meet with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and expected to discuss  the modernization of the Philippine military during their meeting.

Han will visit Camp Aguinaldo to affirm the security ties between South Korea and the Philippines, which is now embroiled in a territorial row with China.

Defense department spokesman Peter Galvez said in a phone interview that “the visit aims to strengthen the relationship of the Philippines and South Korea. They have been our partners in the modernization (of the military).”

“We view them as our close allies,” he added.

By: Jason E

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