The Department of National Defense (DND) is hoping to get adequate funding from the incoming administration for the continuation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) revised modernization program.
DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Wednesday, April 27, that the second horizon of the AFP modernization program will be concluded this year and the third horizon will start in 2023. This will happen as the country elects a new president and other government leaders on May 9, 2022.
“Marami tayong mga kahilingan at marami pa tayong hihingin (We have a lot in our wishlist and we still have more to ask). We are not asking for more but we are actually waiting for money. Our problem now is the funding for these acquisitions because we have already finished Horizon 2, we are now on Horizon 3,” Lorenzana said in an ambush interview at the fourth Asian Defense, Security, and Crisis Management Exhibition and Conference (ADAS) at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
Under the Horizon 2, the Duterte administration allotted P300 billion for the procurement of new military capabilities including multi-role fighter planes, offshore patrol vessels, corvettes, light tanks, and land-based missile systems among others. This began in 2018 and will end in 2022.
In Horizon 3, Lorenzana said that the DND will bring in “more sophisticated equipment” such as fighter planes and, possibly, the country’s first submarine. This will run from 2023 to 2028.
“Now it depends on how money will be made available to us in the coming years,” he said.
Lorenzana acknowledged that the volatile situation in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) triggered a buying spree or arms race in the Pacific region.
“Humahabol lang tayo sa ating mga kapitbahay (We are catching up with our neighbors) to also improve our capability to defend ourselves,” he said.
Lorenzana graced the opening cerwmony of ADAS 2022 which showcases an array of modern weapons and defense technology from military powerhouses like Israel, India, Turkey, United States, South Korea, Germany, and others.
The exhibit serves as a competition of capabilities and a static display of the world’s leading security and defense technologies. It will run until April 29.