The Philippine military’s dream of one of the world’s sophisticated missile systems was spoiled when the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) hit the country this year, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana bared on Monday.
He was referring to BrahMos, which is described as the fastest supersonic medium-range cruise missile. BrahMos is a product of partnership between India and Russia.
“We really want to buy BrahMos but because of the pandemic, we lost money to buy it,” said Lorenzana.
He revealed that the purchase of the missile system was actually on the advanced stage of the procurement process until the pandemic hit the country in March.
While the Philippine military is eager to buy the missile system, Lorenzana said it would be appropriate to spend the money intended for the purchase to address the needs of the Filipino people amid the health and economic crises brought by the coronavirus.
Lorenzana also revealed that during the negotiations India even offered an arrangement for soft loan for the Philippines to acquire BrahMos but he said President Duterte is having second thoughts in availing more loans.
The Philippine government has already availed multi-billion loans that would be used for the country to bounce back from the adverse impact of the COVID-19. Government officials are also planning to borrow more money for the purchase of a COVID-19 vaccine once it is made available.
“The President does not want the next administration to face numerous debts so we are actually caught in a dilemma on what to do. We could avail of the loan but we do not want to be criticized by the next administration,” said Lorenzana.
“So the entire process of procuring Brahmos was stopped because we no longer have the money for that,” he added.