(Feature) Aquino bares blueprint to modernize AFP

July 26, 2010 8:47 pm 

MANILA, July 26 – President Benigno C. Aquino III on Monday bared a blueprint to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), particularly the Philippine Navy (PN), which has only 31 aging ships of World War II vintage in its arsenal to guard the country’s vast 36,000 square nautical miles of territorial waters.

In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) before a joint session of Congress at the Batasan Pambansa complex in suburban Quezon City, the President said that a plan is afoot to lease the Navy’s headquarters at Roxas Boulevard in Manila for US$ 100 million with the money to be used to buy new equipment for the Navy.

The President said the Navy’s headquarters will be relocated to Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

As the second largest archipelagic country in the world with 7,107 islands, and yet the Philippines has the weakest navy in Southeast Asia.

The President was saddened to know that the Navy has only 31 floating assets in its inventory and all are World War II vintage.

By all indication, the 31 Navy vessels cannot cope in securing the country’s territorial waters which is twice as long as that of the United States.

It may be recalled that Congress had passed the AFP Modernization Law in 1995 allocating P331 billion spread over 15 years.

However, only P31 billion had been spent so far. (PNA) RMA/RBC/utb

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