PHL ready to defend territorial waters — Aquino

May 21, 2013 10:12 pm 

MANILA, May 21 — President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday said the Philippines is ready to defend its territorial waters as he led the 115th anniversary of the Philippine Navy held at Fort San Felipe, in Cavite City.

"Sa ilalim ng ating agenda ng mabuting pamamahala, malinaw ang pahiwatig natin ngayon sa buong mundo: Ang sa Pilipinas ay sa Pilipinas, at kaya nating pumalag at ipagtanggol ang sarili tuwing may sisindak sa atin sa loob mismo ng ating bakuran (Under the agenda of good governance, we have a clear message to the whole world: What is ours is ours and we can break loose and defend ourselves whenever there will be threats in our own backyard)," the President said in his speech.

"Ang gusto natin, maramdaman ng Pilipino ang seguridad at kaligtasan nasaan man siyang panig ng bansa o mundo naroon (We want Filipinos to feel secured and safe wherever they may be)," he stressed.

To further strengthen the capabilities of the Philippine Navy, President Aquino said the government is planning to purchase three Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC), eight Amphibious Assault Vehicle, two Frigate and two Anti-Submarine Warfare-Capable Helicopter, among others, including the upgrading of its Communication, Intelligence at Surveillance System.

The President said the country’s second Hamilton class cutter, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, is set to dock in the country by August.

He said Filipino soldiers can now be more confident with the way the government is run, noting the housing program for Armed Forces; the implementation of the P28-billion AFP Modernization and Capability Upgrade Program; and the P75-billion AFP Modernization Program, among others.

"Ilan lamang po ang mga ito sa mga natupad nating tagumpay sa maikling panahon. Sa pagpasok natin sa second-half ng ating termino, malinaw ang panibagong mandatong ipinagkaloob sa atin ng taumbayan: ang ituloy at lalong palakasin ang mga repormang isinusulong natin sa tuwid na daan (These are just some of our successes in a short period of time. As we enter the second half of our term, we have a fresh mandate to the people to continue strengthening the reforms we have pushed towards the straight path)," the President said.

President Aquino also urged government forces to carry on their tasks against illegal activities, including smuggling, illegal drugs, trafficking in persons, as well as disaster management.

He also urged Filipinos to be calm in the midst of adversities. The Philippines has an ongoing rift with Taiwan following the May 9 incident in Balintang Channel that led to the death of a Taiwanese fisherman.

Sa tumitibay at bumibilis nating paglalakbay sa tuwid na landas, patuloy po nating pairalin ang hinahon at pagtitimpi sa bawat pagkakataon, at lagi nating isapuso’t isabuhay ang paglilingkod sa ating kapwa Pilipino (As we tread stronger and faster towards the straight path, we should continue to be calm and exhibit self control at all times and we should take it to heart to serve our fellow Filipinos)," he said. (PNA)

HBC/LGI

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