As tensions rises in the West Philippine Sea over China’s assertiveness in the disputed Spratly Islands, the United States will be giving a “high amount” of foreign military funds to the Philippines in 2016, U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, Philip Goldberg confirmed Wednesday.
Goldberg said that President Barack Obama has guaranteed that a major portion of $140 million in foreign military funding in the region will go to the Philippines, next year.
“We have upped our foreign military funding for the Philippines,” Ambassador Philip Goldberg told ANC, without giving a percentage. “It will be somewhere in the range of $79 million this year. It’s increasing and what has been proposed is something called a maritime security initiative in the region.”
U.S. has been providing the Philippines with nearly $500 million in military assistance since 2002, as well as different types of military equipment.
The White House announced earlier that the Philippines will remain its largest recipients of maritime security assistance in the region, allocating $50 million for expanding the Philippine Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Forces’ to help guard the West Philippine Sea.
The U.S. ambassador also confirmed that the third Hamilton-class coast guard cutter would be arriving late next year while the research vessel R/V Melville would be transferred by the middle of 2016.
Philippine defence and military officials said, about eight amphibious assault vehicles and two US Marines C-130 transport planes were also to arrive next year. -Mark Espanto