Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana gave President Rodrigo Duterte a 90 percent rating in terms of his administration’s accomplishments in preserving peace and security in the country.
“As far as the Department of National Defense is concerned, the President’s rating is 90 percent because he managed to acquire and procure additional equipment for our soldiers and his directive to us to totally neutralize local communist insurgency is also good,” Lorenzana said.
Guided by the President’s order to defend what rightfully belongs to the country without going to war, Lorenzana said the government has consistently asserted the Philippines’ sovereignty and sovereign rights.
“Improvements in the infrastructure in Kalayaan and Mavulis Islands are ongoing even as we intensified our patrols guarding our airspace and seas. We also intensified our deterrence activities and deployed more personnel in our borders, especially in the West Philippine Sea and the Sulu-Celebes Seas,” he said.
As of last year, Lorenzana said the country has conducted 186 air and 575 maritime patrols.
“We now have more littoral monitoring stations and detachments in strategic locations to monitor vessels transiting within Philippine waters and key sea lanes of communication,” he added.
Lorenzana also cited the benefits of the country’s defense cooperation with other countries, inside and outside the region.
“Due to our Trilateral Cooperative Agreement with Indonesia and Malaysia, we quickly reduced kidnapping-for-ransom incidents and other crimes in Sulu waters,” he said.
Lorenzana also cited the milestones reached by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in enhancing its capacity and capability.
These include the upgrading of systems, doctrines, and the acquisition of capital assets and equipment, such as the two newly-acquired Jose Rizal-class missile frigates, the six-newly delivered Embraer A-29B “Super Tucano” close-air support aircraft and a number of combat utility helicopters.
“Though we still have a long way to go to achieve our desired level of defense posture, we can now proudly say that the AFP is definitely stronger than it was before,” he said.