Duterte assures AFP: Modernization to be continued

  • President vowed to carry on upgrade for the armed forces
  • He said only priorities will be adjusted to fit the soldiers’ needs
  • Procurements to benefit the internal security operations of the AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Seeking to allay the worry of the country’s armed forces, President Rodrigo Duterte assured the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that the present administration will still continue its modernization thrust albeit with different priorities.

“There will even be no refocusing of the modernization thrust. We will only adjust our priorities,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying. “For the time being, we will be attending to the more pressing needs of our soldiers now engaged in focused military operations in Basilan, Sulu, central Mindanao, and other areas in southern Philippines.”

According to Duterte, to be prioritized will be weapons and items that will help soldiers carry on internal security operations.

“The procurements will be more of force protection equipment for our soldiers like helmets and vests, more night-fighting systems capability, additional fast crafts for our Navy, additional helicopters capable of night flight for the Navy and Air Force, and more communications equipment,” he said.

For his part, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya thanked Duterte for promising to support the armed forces.

“The AFP appreciates this manifestation of our Commander in Chief Rodrigo Duterte’s genuine concern for our troops in the field who face peril to life and limb on a daily basis,” he said. “With this manifest support of the President, it behooves the AFP to accomplish its mission of protecting the people and the atate, securing its sovereignty and the integrity of the national territory.”

Visaya added that these items will help the armed forces in their ongoing battles against the Abu Sayyaf, terrorist groups and other lawless elements.