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Funds for AFP modernization assured

THE modernization of the Armed Forces will continue as the government will continue acquiring equipment to provide the needs of its soldiers, Malacañang said Tuesday.

“The AFP has a modernization plan and the Aquino administration has consistently made sure that it is funded,” deputy presidential spokeswoman said in a text message to reporters.

“We continue to acquire equipment that will serve the needs of our soldiers as well as engage with other countries to continue training and learning best practices.”

Valte made her comments after she was asked about the AFP’s capability to defend the South China Sea, where China has been building islands.

The AFP recently said one of its problems was  its “limited equipment and facilities” to defend Philippine territory against China’s creeping expansion in the South China Sea.

A report says the Philippine Air Force has also acknowledged its weaknesses in territorial defense in its strategic plan called Flight Plan 2028.

The Air Force cited limited equipment, bases and facilities for territorial defense as well as inadequate training and the absence of established doctrines for territorial defense.

It also admitted in a report in April that it is not configured for territorial defense.

The Philippine military has been trying to build a minimum credible defense amid China’s expansion in the South China Sea.

The report says the Air Force’s breakthrough goal is to “build capability to detect, identify, intercept and neutralize intrusions in the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone and West Philippine Sea by 2022 and the entire Philippines by 2028.”

The Air Force aims to have Area Readiness 3 to Area Readiness 1.

The report says the ability to neutralize incursions refers to 51 to 74 percent of Philippine territory while Area Readiness 1 means 100 percent of the country’s territory, which is estimated to be 40,000 square nautical miles.

On the other hand, Jane’s Defense Magazine in 2012 said the Philippines has no fighter aircraft compared to China’s 1,082 with radars, missile defense, ballistic missile and nuclear arms.

Vietnam, one of the claimants in the South China Sea, has 208 fighter aircraft, Thailand has 55, Indonesia 48 and Malaysia 42.

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