Duterte touts P77-Billion projects to modernize Philippine Navy
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday assured soldiers and marines that the government is working to enhance their capability.
In his speech at the Philippine Navy’s 120th anniversary, Duterte said the government intends to implement the Second Horizon of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program, which encompasses a number of projects for the Philippine Navy amounting to P77 billion.
“We live in exciting times for our armed forces as we further enhance the capability of our Navy,” Duterte said.
“Since the beginning of this administration, I have exerted efforts to upgrade your equipment and artillery,” he added.
These include additional two units of TC90 aircraft, two units of multi-purpose assault crafts and one strategic sealift vessel, among others.
Duterte also announced that Jordan is giving the country two Cobra helicopters.
Highlights of the anniversary celebration include the Navy’s capability demonstration on amphibious operations, counter-terrorism, and hostage crisis response by the Naval Special Operations Group and Marines Special Operations Group. Outstanding units, officers and enlisted personnel were also recognized for serving with honor and excellence.
The President congratulated the Philippine Navy for its 120 years of unwavering service, sacrifice, dedication, and commitment to “defend our shores, protect our seas, and secure our maritime borders.”
“To the brave soldiers and marines of our Navy, you have made the Filipino people proud and continue to do so with gallantry in defending our sovereignty in our territorial waters, particularly in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.
Duterte also recognized the efforts of the Navy and Marines in the liberation of Marawi.
“It was only last year when we celebrated the Philippine Navy’s anniversary during the Marawi Siege. Then, we honored the heroic efforts of the men and women of the Navy and Marines in the liberation of Marawi. Today, we once again honor them as we make significant progress in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of that city,” he said.
At the same time, Duterte recognized the Navy’s accomplishments and contributions in humanitarian assistance, maritime law enforcement, counter-terrorism, and disaster relief operations.
“These noble endeavors have made our kababayans feel safer in challenging circumstances,” he said, confident that together with the AFP, the Philippines can be a strong and resilient nation.
Meanwhile, President Duterte reiterated that he cannot afford to go to war at this time nor go into a battle he cannot win, lest it results in destruction and even many losses for the Armed Forces.
“It has something to do with my desire to defend but at the same time not to make any move that would be destructive to the nation,” he said.
“I really want to do something to assert. But you know, when I assumed the presidency, there was already this ruckus in the West Philippine Sea. It used to be China Sea,” he added.
He also mentioned during his speech the many problems involving the police that the government is struggling to correct.
“I think that I might return the training itself and the militaristic activity training of the police back to the PNP (Philippine National Police) itself. It has not done good since we transfer it to a public safety, with due respect to General De Leon who was assigned in Davao City before,” Duterte said.
“He’s very competent but the system is – it ain’t working. And we’re producing, to my mind, some lousy men getting into the service under questionable circumstances,” he added.
He lamented the insufficient background check and protocol in joining the police force that criminals and drug users get into the service.
Duterte also noted the warming relations between Kuwait and the Philippines, following the granting of conditions to protect the welfare of overseas Filipino workers.
“We’re okay now with Kuwait… My conditions were met,” he said. Among the conditions are a guaranteed seven-hour sleep, no physical abuse, non-confiscation of cellphones and passports, and a day off.
“I’d like to thank officially the Kuwait government for giving us these conditions,” Duterte said, adding “from now on, the conditions that would be a condition sine qua non before we enter into context about our brothers and sisters abroad.”#