Wednesday, April 04, 2012

AFP still banking on US to secure Phl from threats

MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), despite its modernization program, will have to rely on its allies, particularly the United States, to secure and protect the country from external threats.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin made this admission during the launching of the Defense Press Forum at Camp Aguinaldo yesterday.

“We are now seeking from the US a minimum credible defense to prevent any powerful states from bullying us,” Gazmin said, referring to naval and air assets.

The government earlier said it is interested in acquiring a squadron of F-16 fighters from the US.

Gazmin said the planned acquisition is under review since the fighter jets are being phased out from the US Air Force inventory.

The US fighter jets might have limited flying hours left, he pointed out.

“Before we can have these fighter jets, we must also send our pilots for training. So it’s better to acquire first the so-called lead fighter jets,” Gazmin said.

The defense department also plans to acquire fighter jets from South Korea.

Gazmin assured the public that the military upgrade program is not directed at any country. “We are doing this in order to safeguard our own territory,” he said.

Jaime Laude | The Philippine Star | April 4, 2012 | Article Link