AFP chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro (PNA photo by Joey Razon)

MANILA – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro on Tuesday said the country would maintain its goal of having a credible defense posture despite an ongoing review of the military's modernization program.

"Well as of now the study is still ongoing, I cannot definitely state kung ano yung ipa-prioritize natin and ano yung mga tatanggalin natin, but one thing is definite we are making sure na yung ating defense posture is credible, so that's what we are looking at right now (Well as of now the study is still ongoing, I cannot state what will be prioritized and what will be removed, but one thing is definite, we are making sure that our defense posture will be credible, so that's what we are looking at right now)," he said on the sidelines of the christening rites for the Philippine Navy's first two fast-attack interdiction craft-missiles, (FAIC-Ms) BRP Nestor Acero (PG-901) and BRP Lolinato To-Ong (PG-802), at the Navy headquarters at Naval Station Jose Andrada, Manila.

These two ships are the first to arrive in the Philippines out of a batch of nine acquired from Israel Shipyards Limited for PHP10 billion. Bacarro said the AFP modernization program is now on Horizon 2 which is slated for 2018 to 2022.

The military's modernization program is divided into three tranches with Horizon 1 taking place from 2013 to 2018 and Horizon 3 from 2023 to 2028. The review was brought by budgetary constraints, he said.

"So (it is) very true there are some budgetary constraints so right now we are reviewing the modernization plan prioritizing it, actually dun sa number of projects na nakatalaga (of the planned projects), we would just like to identify which are the requirements of the AFP so that's what we are doing right now," Bacarro said.

The AFP chief also clarified that the modernization projects signed by the previous administration will proceed if their documentation and the signatures of parties are complete.

"Of course, there might be some reviews along the way but I think most likely, tuloy na to kung kumpleto na yung pirmahan (this proceeds if the documentation and signing are completed)," he added.

Bacarro also said a lot of AFP modernization program projects are now in the pipeline and that the only constraint they are facing so far is a limited budget. (PNA)