Tuesday, 22 November 2011

South Korea invited to help in Military Buildup

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Monday sought South Korea’s help in buying helicopters, boats, aircraft and other equipment for the Armed Forces.

Mr. Aquino said the Philippines was interested in buying new military equipment during his meeting with visiting South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at the Palace.

“This is in consonance with the upgrading and modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” the President said.

He said he and Lee also “updated each other on the developments in the Korean Peninsula and the West Philippine Sea [South China Sea].”

The President had earlier ordered P10 billion released for the Armed Forces’ modernization program.

The Army’s shopping list includes 14 armored personnel carrier, 272 20-man pack radios, and 3,480 force protection equipment worth P1.4 billion.

The Navy wants to buy a strategic sea-lift vessel costing P2 billion. The Air Force wants to acquire a special-mission aircraft and two light lift aircraft worth P1.6 billion.

The P10 billion will also be used to buy vehicles for civil military operations, health services and disaster response.

The Army is also buying 32 five-ton dump trucks and 55 special-purpose vehicles. The Air Force will purchase two search-and-rescue vehicles, 30 special purpose vehicles, and 15 amphibian vehicles.

The military is also buying 1,376 hand-held radios, 150 60-mm mortars, 78 units of audio-video equipment, 160 portable radio receivers, 100 sniper rifle systems, and 2,000 standard weapons systems.

The Navy is preparing for the turnover from contractors of the first Philippine-made landing craft, according to Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay.

The Navy has yet to name the 51.43-meter ship, which is configured to transport combat personnel, tanks, vehicles, artillery and equipment in support of amphibious operations.

Mr. Aquino and Lee witnessed the signing of economic cooperation agreements that will give the Philippines wider access to aid and low-interest loans of up to $500 million.

The other agreements involve two joint projects to build a coal-fired power plant in Subic and a $300-million multi-purpose dam in Iloilo.

Lee invited Mr. Aquino to visit South Korea in March next year for the Nuclear Security Summit.

SOURCE: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNews.htm?f=2011/november/22/news3.isx&d=2011/november/22

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