(PNA file photo) 

MANILA – The Department of National Defense (DND) is hoping that the incoming administration will continue with the ongoing modernization efforts for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which President Rodrigo R. Duterte strongly supported.

"What is important here is the ongoing modernization of the AFP. We have come a long way in the past six years since this administration took over and we are wishing that they will continue this initiative so that we can achieve what we call credible defense posture where we can patrol all corners of the Philippines. We are nearing that objective but there is still a lot of work to be done, that is the program we will endorse to the incoming Defense Secretary," DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said.

Andolong, who represented Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, during a virtual presser shortly after Day 1 of the Duterte Legacy Summit on Monday, made this comment when asked what programs they want to be continued by the incoming administration.

And when asked what particular assets they want the incoming administration to focus on acquiring, the DND spokesperson said these are territorial defense assets.

"So, it’s more of the territorial defense assets that we have and we have all mentioned during the past na iyong mga assets ng Air Force, like iyong (like the assets of the Air Force that we are) looking to the future, iyong mga (these are the) multirole fighters na gusto ng (that is wanted by) Air Force. Sana may submarine pa ang Navy (the Navy is also looking for a submarine), but this will all occur doon sa (in the) last phase of the modernization, which will be towards 2028," he added.

And since all these equipment and platforms cost money, Andolong said the DND wants to confer with the incoming administration to continue implementing these modernization projects, including the missile systems, which are now in the process of being acquired.

"For the first time, magkakaroon na tayo ng (we will have a) defense using missile systems at kalakip diyan iyong mga (and these includes) radars and sensors na kailangan natin (that we need), kasi balewala iyong missiles kung wala tayo ng mga radars na iyon (because missiles are useless without those radars)," he said.

Aside from these equipment, Andolong said the DND is also pushing for more training and capability building among military personnel.

"So, these are a few of the things that we would like to push for in the modernization as well as the intensified capability and capacity building of our soldiers, our airmen and our sailors and marines in the Armed Forces. Of course, we need men to man these machines and equipment," Andolong said. (PNA)