08 Juli 2010
Representatives from PAF inspect Sokol helicopter assembly site in Poland (photo : timawa)
MANILA --- In a recent speech to Air Force officers, new Philippine President Benigno Aquino promised to improve the country's air defense capability. Additional funding will be allocated to address the needs of PAF personnel, including arms, equipment, housing, and even healthcare.
President Aquino announced a PHP7 billion (151 mio USD) modernization plan for the Air Force that will see the procurement of 15 combat utility and night-capable helicopters, 10 refurbished UH-1H helicopters, a long-range maritime patrol plane, a refurbished C-130 transport, basic trainer jets, and long-range radar systems. This equipment is in addition to eight combat utility helicopters from Polish company PZL Swidnik that will be delivered next year. At least part of this program will be funded by identifying military properties and other land assets that are surplus to requirements and selling or leasing them to property developers.
Commenting on the president's speech, PAF chief Lt. Gen. Oscar Rabena said that the Air Force had "plans in place for transition from internal security to territorial defense." This may refer to the long-overdue procurement of fighter aircraft that are currently absent from the PAF inventory.
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Philippine Defense Secretary Says to Accelerate Army Modernization
30 Juni 2010
MANILA, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Philippine new Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said on Wednesday that implementation of the long- delayed modernization program of the Armed Forces would be among his priorities in the department.
"I would look at the modernization program ... We will speed it up and make sure that all the equipment necessary to modernization our Armed Forces will be delivered soonest," said Gazmin.
The 350-billion-peso (7.6 billion U.S. dollars) modernization program is funded mainly through government appropriations. It was divided into three aspects, the first of which is the procurement of equipment needed to address internal security threats.
The second part is for the procurement of armaments as the military transition to external defense while the third part is the external defense.
Gazmin said new President Benigno Aquino has instructed him to "put things in order" at the department within his first 100 days in office. "We will have to sit down and assess our problems and get into the bottom of all the problems so we can find solutions to all the problems," he said.
Gazmin said that as defense secretary, he would be supporting peace negotiations with the leftist rebels and the secessionists.
"First thing is to sit down and talk, thresh out the problems to see what we can do, what are doable so that there will be peaceful negotiations and peaceful solutions ... Everything will be based on our law and our Constitution," he said.