BRP Antonio Luna (File photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)

MANILA – The Philippines has made steady progress this year in the upgrade of military equipment and skills of the personnel tasked to operate it, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Friday.

"As we look back to the past year, it is likewise heartening to note that the Department continues its steady progress towards achieving the goals we set in 2016. We have not only continued to upgrade the equipment of the Armed Forces and the other Bureaus but also developed and raised their skills, expertise, and knowledge," Lorenzana said in a message to reporters.

Aside from this, Lorenzana said the defense and security sectors have greatly improved the security of the country with the whole of nation approach to solving the insurgency and other threat groups.

"The future we are facing will not be easy but with our concerted efforts we can overcome whatever challenges come our way," he said.

As the country ushers in a new year, Lorenzana expressed his thanks to the men and women of the DND for their hard work and dedication.

"I would also like to thank our citizens for their continued support for the DND and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) We assure our people of our commitment to serving them. Lastly, I wish everyone good health and prosperity in the coming year," he added.

Lorenzana also urged Filipinos to thank God for all blessings received by the country in 2021, including the hardships that further strengthened and toughened them.

This includes the country's gradual gain and the victory against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, which the DND chief hopes to end in 2022. (PNA)