The Philippines wants to acquire two more navy ships from the United States to boost its maritime protection amid threats from China, Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista said Wednesday.
The new acquisitions would come under the fresh US military assistance announced by US Secretary of State John Kerry when he visited the Philippines last month, Bautista said.
“Within the last year, we realised that there is a real threat out there in terms of securing, defending our territory,” Bautista told ANC television.
He said that ideally the country needed about six more frigates to guard its long coastline effectively.
“In fact, we are bidding now for two frigates, hopefully we will be able to acquire them in (a) couple of years,” Bautista said.
He said he has made “maritime domain awareness” and protection a key concern of his leadership.
The funds used to boost maritime defense, he said, would come from the $40 million military assistance pledged by Kerry in December.
The Philippines has already acquired two refurbished American frigates in the past two years, and they now lead patrols in the West Philippine Sea.