Story by the Philippine News Agency
MANILA – The Philippines’ defense capabilities got a much-needed boost upon receiving a military hardware donation, including snipers’ and anti-improvised explosive device equipment, worth USD29 million (about PHP1.38 billion), from the US Defense Department on Tuesday.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. accepted the donation from visiting acting US Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller during a short ceremony held at the Department of National Defense (DND) building in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Miller also informed Lorenzana that one C-130 military transport aircraft would be delivered to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on December 17.
Both Lorenzana and Miller have agreed to boost further the military-to-military engagement between Manila and Washington DC.
“We are grateful for the support provided by the United States as we continuously work on the enhancement of the Philippines’ defense capabilities. The modernization of the AFP will ultimately allow us to respond more effectively to both traditional and non-traditional security threats to our maritime nation. Our government expresses our deep appreciation for the US government’s assistance in protecting our borders from external threats,” Lorenzana added.
Miller met with his Filipino counterpart and other government officials to highlight the long-standing and steadfast alliance between Manila and Washington DC, and the US government’s commitment to helping the country secure its national and regional security.
Aside from the turnover of the defense articles, he also mentioned the US government’s PHP1.1 billion (USD23.4 million) Covid-19 assistance and disaster relief for recent typhoon victims, as well as ongoing support for Philippine counterterrorism and maritime security efforts.
The United States has earlier transferred defense equipment to several special mission units of the AFP to support its modernization goals.
The new equipment will strengthen the AFP’s joint precision strike, sniper, riverine, and counter-improvised explosive device capabilities.
US Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett had also handed over to the Philippine Navy a ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System, while US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien donated PHP868 million (USD18 million) in supplementary military equipment and training to the AFP.
The Philippines is the largest recipient of US military assistance in the Indo-Pacific region. (PNA)