Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Philippines to revive weapons program as offshoot of Panatag Shoal standoff

The Department of National Defense on Monday said the government plans to revive its Self-Reliant Defense Posture (SRDP) policy under the Capability Upgrade Program, which entails local production of weapons, armaments and ammunition.

“We’re looking to tap our local industry in the development of our arsenal,” DND spokesperson Dr. Peter Paul Ruben Galvez told GMA News Online in a phone interview.

“It has been done before during the Marcos administration but the companies involved were bombarded by issues of corruption,” noted Galvez, also the acting chief of staff of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

“We believe we can do it now considering the rate of our transparency,” he explained.

The upgrade program was an offshoot of the dispute with China over the Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, according to a military official.

Always in the pipeline

SRDP was first implemented through Presidential Degree 415 or the SRDP law in 1974. It was intended to develop a local defense industry to supply the requirements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

On creating a local defense industry, Galvez said, “We have always looked at the possibility. It's always in the pipeline."

“Many Filipinos are at the forefront of the defense system all over the world. I’m sure, if we invest in our own R&D, it won’t be long before we start exporting,” he added.

Creating a local defense industry is part of the Defense Capability Upgrade Program, a strategy of the Philippine military to strengthen territorial defense.

In an interview with GMA News Online last Friday, Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesperson Colonel Miguel Okol revealed plans to acquire an array of aircraft ranging from utility helicopters to fighter jets.

This was after China and the Philippines were caught in a standoff over the West Philippine Sea’s Panatag Shoal on April 10.

Upgrading arsenal

Similarly, Bataan Congressman Albert S. Garcia, in his explanatory note of House Bill No. 76, emphasized the need to improve “current manufacturing capabilities and production capacity” of the government arsenal, located in Bataan.

HB 76 or the Government Arsenal Modernization Bill seeks to empower government toward achieving self-reliance in munitions production for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Garcia noted the 370-hectare defense industrial estate in Bataan could only produce four types of ammunition that includes 7.62mm M80, 5.56mm M193, Cal .45 M1911, and 9mm Parabellum.

“There is a need to upgrade the capability of the Government Arsenal to produce not only small arms ammunition but also higher caliber ammunition, such as .50 cal., and even mortars, and other crew-served weapons ammunition,” said the lawmaker who introduced HB 76.

 Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo | GMA News Online | June 18, 2012 | Article Link

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:34 AM

    this should have been done long time ago. nevertheless, it's better late than never. filipinos are ingenious. revive our missile program during marcos, defiant and humming bird and other projects shelves because of our leader's corruption and crab mentality