23 November 2011

South Korea Invited to Help in Military Buildup

23 November 2011

Philippines was interested in military-grade helicopters, boats and aircraft from South Korea (photo : Defence Talk)

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Monday sought South Korea’s help in buying helicopters, boats, aircraft and other equipment for the Armed Forces.

Mr. Aquino said the Philippines was interested in buying new military equipment during his meeting with visiting South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at the Palace.

“This is in consonance with the upgrading and modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” the President said.

He said he and Lee also “updated each other on the developments in the Korean Peninsula and the West Philippine Sea [South China Sea].”

The President had earlier ordered P10 billion released for the Armed Forces’ modernization program.

The Army’s shopping list includes 14 armored personnel carrier, 272 20-man pack radios, and 3,480 force protection equipment worth P1.4 billion.

The Navy wants to buy a strategic sea-lift vessel costing P2 billion. The Air Force wants to acquire a special-mission aircraft and two light lift aircraft worth P1.6 billion.

The P10 billion will also be used to buy vehicles for civil military operations, health services and disaster response.

The Army is also buying 32 five-ton dump trucks and 55 special-purpose vehicles. The Air Force will purchase two search-and-rescue vehicles, 30 special purpose vehicles, and 15 amphibian vehicles.

The military is also buying 1,376 hand-held radios, 150 60-mm mortars, 78 units of audio-video equipment, 160 portable radio receivers, 100 sniper rifle systems, and 2,000 standard weapons systems.

The Navy is preparing for the turnover from contractors of the first Philippine-made landing craft, according to Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay.

The Navy has yet to name the 51.43-meter ship, which is configured to transport combat personnel, tanks, vehicles, artillery and equipment in support of amphibious operations.

Mr. Aquino and Lee witnessed the signing of economic cooperation agreements that will give the Philippines wider access to aid and low-interest loans of up to $500 million.

The other agreements involve two joint projects to build a coal-fired power plant in Subic and a $300-million multi-purpose dam in Iloilo.

Lee invited Mr. Aquino to visit South Korea in March next year for the Nuclear Security Summit.

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DND to prepare list of equipment to be acquired from Korea
23 November 2011

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) will prepare a list of equipment that the government would acquire from South Korea after President Aquino sought its assistance in improving the military’s capability.

“This is for the DND so it will be the DND who will specify and make specifications of what exactly is needed as far as the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) is concerned,” DND spokesman Zosimo Paredes told reporters yesterday.

Paredes said the drawing up of the list would be done in coordination with the military’s major services.

“We are still awaiting specific instructions from President vis-a-vis the agreement that will be signed,” he said.

Paredes said Aquino’s request for South Korea to help the AFP is significant given the need to boost the military’s capability.

“We welcome other friendly nations to help in this regard. We will not react negatively in terms of defense assistance from friendly countries,” he said.

The military said South Korea has been a “valuable partner” in its upgrade efforts.

“The AFP welcomes President Aquino’s plans to purchase military hardware and defense articles from South Korea,” AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. told The STAR.

“For many years now, South Korea has been a valuable partner of the AFP as we continuously upgrade our capability to address the nation’s security concerns and challenges,” he said.

Burgos said among the military equipment acquired from South Korea were the one-ton and two-ton truck troop carriers and squad automatic weapons.

“The K3 squad automatic weapons from South Korea provide superior firepower for our ground troops in the infantry and are now being used in our internal security operations,” he said.

Burgos said the KM 450 one-ton trucks provide “fast and efficient” troop lift capability to their field units.

“Aside from the one-ton and two-ton truck troop carriers and the squad automatic weapons from South Korea, we also purchased ballistic helmets and Kevlar vests for our troops’ force protection,” he said.

The President requested the assistance of Korean President Lee Myung-Bak in upgrading the AFP during their meeting in MalacaƱang last Monday.

“On defense cooperation, I expressed to President Lee the interest of the Philippines to gain some specific defense articles, such as military-grade helicopters, boats and aircraft,” Aquino told reporters. “This is in consonance with the upgrading and modernization of the AFP.”

‘Ninoy impressed with Koreans’

Meanwhile, Aquino told President Lee over dinner Monday that his father – the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. – was impressed with the strength of character of Koreans.

“I remember during our own Martial Law years, when I was but a mere child, my father, who also first introduced us to Korean cuisine, would relate to the family his stories about the deprivations that your country had to go through,” he said.–

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