Marcos says PHL needs to boost defense capability amid geopolitical tensions

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PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Tuesday said the government will continue to boost its defense capability against a backdrop of geopolitical tensions in the Asia Pacific region. 

“With terrorism and external security threats brought by geopolitical tensions looming around us, around the Asia Pacific region, and around the world, it is imperative that we continue to equip and empower ourselves in whatever capacity we are able,” Mr. Marcos said as he led the turnover of new ground-based air defense system (GBADS) and a C-295 Medium Lift Aircraft to the Philippine Air Force (PAF).   

While the Philippines strives to live in peace with others, it is still crucial for its armed forces to be modernized “so that it is ready for all eventualities,” the president said. “It is for this reason, that we strengthen our country’s capabilities in territorial defense, counter-terrorism, and internal security.”   

“It is also worth noting that, for government and business operations to continue without fault or interruption, there is a need to protect all our critical infrastructure — and our modernization addresses such a need,” he added. 

Mr. Marcos said the newly-acquired assets would boost the Philippines’ defense capability.  

The GBADS, which is under Horizon 2 of the AFP Modernization Program, consists of Surface-to-Air Python and Derby (SPYDER) mobile air-defense missiles developed by Israeli defense technology firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.  

The C-295 aircraft, meanwhile, is among the three aircraft orders from Airbus Defense and Space. The orders are under the PAF’s medium-lift aircraft acquisition project under Horizon 2.  

The first aircraft arrived last March. The contract for the three aircrafts, which was signed in 2019, is worth P5.288 billion, according to a report by the Philippine News Agency. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza