November 29, 2023

JILI City APK THE PHILIPPINES is expected to get a new air defense system next year, including more radars to bolster its air defense capability, a senator said during plenary debates on the 2024 budget on Monday, amid increasing tensions with China.

“By next year, we will witness the arrival of ground-based air defense systems and we are going to have additional radars that would be integrated into the system,” Senator Ronald M. dela Rosa, who sponsored the Defense department’s budget, told the plenary.

“This will be the backbone of our air defense,” the former national police chief said, noting that the foundation of the Philippines’ air defense capability would be laid out in five years.

The Senate would increase the country’s defense budget particularly for air defense and anti-ship missions, Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri told the plenary.

He proposed a special provision in the 2024 General Appropriations bill that would exempt procurement for armed services from being posted in the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System so the purchases would not be known by other countries.

He also said military purchases should be exempted from the Philippine procurement law and get the most effective weapons rather than the cheapest ones.

“We’ll put a special provision because we need it,” Mr. Zubiri said.

The Department of National Defense (DND) has a proposed budget of P233.27 billion under the Senate’s version of the 2024 budget.

Under the budget, P50-billion was allocated to the revised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program. Mr. Dela Rosa said the AFP initially requested P115 billion.

He noted that the AFP modernization program, which has a 15-year timeline split into three horizons, had Casino888 been delayed.

“If we go by the dates, we should be in Horizon 3 by now, but because of some delays, even Horizon 2 is not yet completed.”

Horizon 1 is from 2013 to 2017, costing P97 billion across 53 projects, Mr. Dela Rosa said. During the period, 36 projects were completed, while 17 are pending. 

Mr. Dela Rosa said Horizon 2 was scheduled to run from 2018 to 2022 with a P429-billion budget. Out of 97 projects, 51 have been implemented while 46 are ongoing.

Horizon 3 is from 2023 to 2027, with P1.8 trillion needed for 37 projects. Mr. Dela Rosa noted that 46 projects from Horizon 2 were carried over to Horizon 3, while the other 39 were scrapped.

None of the Horizon 3 projects have been completed, Mr. Dela Rosa said.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. in July underscored the importance of the Philippine Air Force’s patrols amid geopolitical tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

The president said the Philippine Air Force’s maritime air patrol missions are needed to uphold the country’s territorial integrity and safeguard Philippine maritime zones.

Mr. Marcos said the government would continue modernizing the Armed Forces, including the Philippine Air Force.

India, which is part of the United States-led quadrilateral security dialogue, in June reiterated its offer to help the Philippines fund the defense modernization program. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz

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