By Francis Wakefield
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana today said he is looking at South Korea and Russia as potential suppliers for the acquisition of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) of diesel-electric submarines in the near future.
Lorenzana made the revelation after he led the Department of National Defense (DND) and its bureaus in culminating the observance of the National Flag Days (May 28 – June 12) and in celebrating the 120th anniversary of the Philippine Independence Day during the flag-raising ceremony held at the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) covered court in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Lorenzana said if he is not mistaken the AFP plan to acquire submarines is part of the Third Horizon of the Revised AFP Modernization program.
“Sa (It’s in the) second horizon, parang third horizon pa yung submarine. But we are already looking now, ngayon tumitingin na tayo, tumitingin na tayo (we are looking now),” Lorenzana said.
“Tumitingin tayo sa (we are looking at) Korea and Russia and other countries,” he added.
When asked for the timeline on when the country could have its own submarine, Lorenzana said it could take five to eight or possibly 10 years.
“Kasi iyung pagawa ng (the making of a) submarine, it takes five to eight years, sometimes it takes 10 years. From the time we order it until it is finished, it takes that long. If we order in the third horizon and is delivered, the term of the president is already finished,” he said.
Lorenzana said once the military acquires the submarines, it will help in the country’s external security.
He added that neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam already have that kind of military watercraft capable of independent operation underwater.