Philippines should spend more on defense - Esperon

Philippines should spend more on defense - Esperon

Geo-politics in Asia is changing very fast and amidst all of this one thing for sure is certain- military power in the region is a must more than ever most especially in the contentious areas with the Asian giant that is China.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said, the Philippines as a country should increase its defense spending in order for the Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP) to fully perfom is mandate to secure the country's territory. 
There is no question as to the willingness of the armed forces to  defend our territories in the West Philippine Sea, but with its limited military equipment it can do only so much. A massive capability build up in this moment is very much timely and wanting.

The AFP need s the appropriate military machines/equipment to fulfill their mandated tasks (photo credit to owner)
“We just want to assure you, having come from the armed forces, that we are ready anytime but you have to capacitate us also. Otherwise, we go for other things,”Esperon said.
In 1995 a law was passed which calls for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP), this was done aftr the Chines occupied Panganiban Reef ( Mischief Reef) which is located within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. The 15-year plan to modernize the AFP was not fully implemented and turned out to be a total failure.

We really haven’t got anything except from the savings of the Presidents, so who do we blame for this? Do we blame the senators or the congressmen? Or we as a nation?” National Security Adviser Esperon said.

“It seems like we are not willing to spend for defense, but we want defense. So where do you put the Armed Forces in that arrangement? Our defense spending is about 1.1% of the GDP (gross domestic product)…China has more,” he added.

The revised modernization program of the AFP is  divided into three phases: Horizon 1 ran from 2013 to 2017, Horizon 2 covers 2018 to 2022, while Horizon 3 is from 2023 to 2028.

“We are now trying to build capability. We are maintaining our presence in the Kalayaan Island Group. We have put lighthouses; we will repair the airstrip. It will be an all-weather airstrip,” he said.

And gave this unsolicited advise for those criticizing the AFP for not doing its job.

“If you want all these parts of the territory to be defended, don’t look at the armed forces. You look at the other officials,” Esperon said

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Report from PDI

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