In the midst of rising strain with China over the disputed West Philippine Sea . A military aid by the United States to the Philippines this year has allocated to more than $120 million dollars the biggest in about 15 years, a senior Filipino diplomat said on Friday.
Philippine ambassador to Washington, D.C. Jose Cuisia said that both the Philippines and the United States are in talks to acquire a fourth, Hamilton-class cutter frigate which will be used to strengthen the Philippines capability to patrol its territory.
Cuisia told members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Manila that “We got the largest-ever allocation from the U.S. government this year to enhance defense and security of our country.”
He said the Philippines received an annual military aid this year amounting to $79 million dollars compared to about $50 million last 2015.
He said Manila would get an additional $42 million from the new U.S. Southeast Asia Maritime Initiative, a maritime capacity-building program announced by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
The two amounts of military aid to the Philippines represent the biggest amount since 2000 when the U.S. military came back to its previous American bases after it was terminated in 1992. – Robert Beerlak