Philippines to buy two Maestrale frigates from Italy

The Philippines is set to buy two Maestrale-class frigates from Italy, a defence official said Wednesday, as the Asian nation races to upgrade its military amid mounting territorial disputes with China.

The frigates, along with 12 FA-50 fighter aircraft, are the most significant items on the government's 75-billion-peso ($1.7-billion) military modernisation budget over the next five years, Defence Undersecretary Fernando Manalo said.

"We are modernising not because we want to go to war with China," he told a news conference.

He said the government had a sworn obligation to defend the "West Philippine Sea," using the government's preferred term for Philippine-claimed areas in the South China Sea.

"We are not saying that this is part of our preparations to assert our sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea. What we are saying is that we cannot just give them up."

The frigates would add to two refurbished Hamilton-class cutters formerly used by the US Coast Guard that the Philippines acquired from its US ally to upgrade its ageing navy fleet, which includes some vessels that first saw action in World War II.

Manalo said the navy had already decided to acquire two new Maestrale-class frigates instead of buying used ones from the Italian navy, and had budgeted 18 billion pesos for them.

The Philippines could be ready to tender by the end of the year, he added.

Meanwhile, the government had alloted 18.9 billion pesos to acquire the fighter aircraft, which are built by South Korea, he added.

The modernisation budget also provides for building or improving facilities to berth and provide maintenance to the vessels on the military's shopping list, Manalo said.

President Benigno Aquino vowed Monday to rebuild the air force by 2016.

The Philippines, which has one of the weakest military forces in the region, retired the last of its US-designed F-5 fighters in 2005.

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • What can void a new car warranty? James Deakin - Wheel Power
    What can void a new car warranty?

    "I was denied warranty once for changing my horn!" One very annoyed reader wrote. "I was told that placing a backup camera will void my warranty" said another. The others are best left in my private inbox as Yahoo! have a swear jar in the office that I do not feel like donating this week's pay to. Continue reading → …

  • Docu exposes destruction of PH marine resources VERA Files - The Inbox
    Docu exposes destruction of PH marine resources

    By Kiersnerr Gerwin B. Tacadena, VERA Files “Gutom (hunger),” Sen. Loren Legarda said is what’s in store for the Filipino people if destruction of the country's marine resources is not stopped. Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on Environment and Natural … Continue reading → …

  • ‘Yolanda’ fiberglass boats modern-day Noah’s ark VERA Files - The Inbox
    ‘Yolanda’ fiberglass boats modern-day Noah’s ark

    By Jane Dasal, VERA Files If you want to save the earth, build a boat. That's what a group of environmentalists is saying, especially if you want to save both the forests and fishermen affected by supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan). “Haiyan … Continue reading → …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options