Friday, May 11, 2012

Philippine defense chief: We're poor, but we won't beg

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National (DND) on Wednesday said that the government is continuously trying to modernize its military using its own resources amid criticisms that the $30 million support offered by the US is insufficient.

Defense chief Voltaire Gazmin said the Philippines should not rely too much on the US or other external sources to enhance its military capabilities.

“We’re not beggars. We are poor, but we certainly will not beg,” Gazmin said at the Defense Press Corps forum in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

“We should not be relying so much in so far as our acquisition and upgrade of our military equipment is concerned. If they (US) will give us something, okay, then we stand on our own. We try to stand on our own,” he added.

Gazmin was reacting to criticisms that the $30 million foreign military financing offered by the US to the Philippines is insufficient.

The US has doubled to $30 million from $15 million the military assistance allocation for the Philippines this year.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, however, said the amount was “insulting.” He said the amount was too small considering that the US has been benefiting from its ties with the Philippines.

“If it is just $30 million, if I were the government of President Aquino, I would say thank you but I don’t need $30 million. We can provide that $30 million for ourselves," Enrile said last Sunday.

Enrile said it appears that the Philippines is begging alms from the US.

Alexis Romero and J. Domingo | The Philippine Star | May 10, 2012 | Article Link

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