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Philippines to Re-Focus on Territorial Defence in 2012

This is a discussion on Philippines to Re-Focus on Territorial Defence in 2012 within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by Twain I am curious as to what the Philippine Navy and air force are doing to get ...


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Old July 7th, 2012   #31
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I am curious as to what the Philippine Navy and air force are doing to get ready for all this new equipment? The government of the Philippines has a very long wish list of equipment they would like to acquire including LIFT's OPV'S, corvettes, light frigates, reconnaissance aircraft, MRF's and submarines to name a few. All this looks great but it won't do any good if the ships can't leave port and the aircraft never get off the ground.

Is the military doing anything to get some infrastructure in place to support all this? Are they beginning to train new pilots and ground crews? The air force hasn't put a fighter in the air in 7 years, what are they doing to get ready for this?
I would assume that these infrastructures are part of the approximately 138 contracts that will be awarded by the end of July 2012? Looking back at the Philippine economy and their reserves, they just lent the IMF $1B and if I'm not mistaken they have about $65B in reserves? The country is not that poor...they can tap into that reserves and solve their minimal defensive requirements overnight. I wonder why the US government only allocated $30M foreign aid to the Philippines?

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Old July 8th, 2012   #32
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A 15 member Joint Visual Team recently conducted some inspections of military hardware in Italy late last month but is unclear or was not specifically identified in the article as to which ones were actually checked ...

PHL, Italy reinforce strategic ties — DFA | GMA News Online | The Go-To Site for Filipinos Everywhere
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Old July 8th, 2012   #33
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I would assume that these infrastructures are part of the approximately 138 contracts that will be awarded by the end of July 2012? Looking back at the Philippine economy and their reserves, they just lent the IMF $1B and if I'm not mistaken they have about #65B in reserves? The country is not that poor...they can tap into that reserves and solve their minimal defensive requirements overnight. I wonder why the US government only allocated $30M foreign aid to the Philippines?

I'd be shocked if the Philippine gov't had $65B in reserves when their total GDP is only about $200B. P65 billion possibly but not $65B

My point in asking my question is this, I have seen several shopping lists by the Philippine gov't but nothing to indicate that they are taking the steps necessary to keep the equipment on this shopping list operational or any steps to make sure they use it wisely and effectively. That might be why the Philippines is only getting $30M in aid.

edit: I see from another post in another thread, that is your foreign reserves. As pointed out, that is not money you can use for defense spending.
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Old July 8th, 2012   #34
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I'd be shocked if the Philippine gov't had $65B in reserves when their total GDP is only about $200B. P65 billion possibly but not $65B

My point in asking my question is this, I have seen several shopping lists by the Philippine gov't but nothing to indicate that they are taking the steps necessary to keep the equipment on this shopping list operational or any steps to make sure they use it wisely and effectively. That might be why the Philippines is only getting $30M in aid.

edit: I see from another post in another thread, that is your foreign reserves. As pointed out, that is not money you can use for defense spending.
Actually the current Foreign Reserves stands at $77 Billion 'Dollars' and is forecast to reach $84 Billion 'Dollars' by next year so don't be surprise cause it's a fact and was not made up and also the current GDP stands at $225 Billion which was for 2011.

http://www.imf.org/external/np/sta/i...eng/curphl.htm

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Old July 8th, 2012   #35
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Actually the current Foreign Reserves stands at $77 Billion 'Dollars' and is forecast to reach $84 Billion 'Dollars' by next year so don't be surprise cause it's a fact and was not made up and also the current GDP stands at $225 Billion which was for 2011.

International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity - PHILIPPINES
It really doesn't matter if it is $65B or $77B. That is not money that can just be grabbed and spent without potentially severe results for the PI economy. See this thread.

http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/ge...ardware-12044/

If I recall correctly, Philippine gov't debt is currently rated 2 grades below investment grade and the government of the Philippines is lobbying for an upgrade in it's rating due to it's currency reserves. An upgrade would result in lower interest rates for any government issued debt, but using the foreign reserves would probably result in just the opposite, higher interest rates, further hurting the Philippines ability to buy any defense articles. Foreign currency reserves aren't something you just start using to buy things, they exist for a valid reasons.
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Old July 8th, 2012   #36
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Is the military doing anything to get some infrastructure in place to support all this? Are they beginning to train new pilots and ground crews? The air force hasn't put a fighter in the air in 7 years, what are they doing to get ready for this?
I would like to know as well.

However, I'm sure the talent and the basic infrastructure should be there. The Philippines have some good things going for commercial airliners and ships, for example.

When they get the jets though, they should have everything in place. After all, these LIFTs are not going to arrive earlier than 2014.
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Old July 8th, 2012   #37
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They are buying 12 lead-in fighter jets and part of the package is training of pilots and ground crew of the initial batch. Of course the purpose of LIFTs serves to locally train newer batches of pilots and ground crew once the first batch graduates to proper MRFs.

Recent reports also said that that they plan to build more airbases to support the new assets to be acquired.

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LIPA, BATANGAS -- The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is eyeing the establishment of additional bases within the next two to three years as focus will be shifted to territorial defense, an official said on Friday.
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The department has targeted to approve 138 modernization projects by the end of July, including three radars systems, 21 utility helicopters, 10 attack helicopters, four additional search-and-rescue helicopters, two long-range patrol aircraft, a special mission aircraft, three medium-lift aircraft and 12 lead-in fighters. These are expected to boost the air power in the next two years.
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Old July 11th, 2012
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Old October 20th, 2012   #38
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They have identified all these different aircrafts but no mention of what kind of ships they're going to acquire? I wonder why they're concentrating on air power but how about their sea deterrence acquisition? Are they going to pursue frigates and corvettes from Italy, more Hamiltons [Mod Edit: The ex-Hamiltons are OPVs, not first line surface combatants. A SSM on a OPV just makes it a well armed OPV and its role is to patrol offshore areas. To minimize cost, an OPV is often minimally armed, as they are not designed to go head to head with other warships.] from the USA, other patrol boats, etc.?
I think its because anti-ship armed MRFs stood a better chance at taking down an entire fleet and evading the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles. [Mod Edit: Read the thread you post in before going off-half cocked without understanding the local challenges faced (with an air force, with all air but no force and a green water navy, with limited war fighting capability) and constrains. As stated by the US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, on October 23, 2011:-
"...As we have noted before, the U.S. position on maritime security remains clear: we have a national interest in freedom of navigation and overflight, in unimpeded economic development and commerce, and in respect for international law. I would also add that while we do not take a position on competing claims, we do hope that in the interest of peaceful resolution, all parties will clarify their maritime claims in terms consistent with customary international law, as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention.

I applaud the July accord between ASEAN and China on implementing guidelines to the 2002 declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea. I would encourage you to maintain this momentum, and continue working towards a binding code of conduct. I know that president Obama will be interested in hearing your views at the East Asia summit..."
The problem with your perspective across a number of threads is your failure to take into account that Obama's Asia pivot is not a Philippines pivot. Philippines is only one of the countries in the region and it is in US interest to ring-fence Chinese influence. However, this contest of influence is not what is driving the changes in the region. The more interesting question is:-
How can ASEAN build a security architecture robust enough to deal with such challenges as committing parties to an ‘Incidents at Sea’ agreement?
At this time, the region lacks the institutions necessary to make such actions credible. While establishing new mechanisms like the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM+) and expanding existing ones like the East Asia Summit (EAS) could potentially lead to a security architecture that produces tangible results, neither approach has yet borne fruit.]


And MRFs are essential to protect our airspace from bombers that might feast on our cities or our army. [Mod Edit: Last warning. Most of us contribute here to join a mature and considered discussion with some relevant context. For those that are really interested, read this CNAS article by Richard D. Fisher, Jr., namely "Defending the Philippines: Military Modernization and the Challenges Ahead" and this article by Bonnie S. Glaser, published by the Council on Foreign Relations, namely, "Armed Clash in the South China Sea: Contingency Planning Memorandum No. 14".]

Recently, I've read a very interesting work by Felix K. Chang entitled Transforming the Philippines Defense Architecture which suggest that mobile shore based anti-ship and anti-air batteries placed in Palawan would provide an effective and far cheaper substitute than getting jets and warships.[Mod Edit: In this case, it is more of a blue-sky wish-list without regard to budget realities and time frame (rather than a real analysis of alternatives and an action plan) for the threat matrix faced in the South China Sea, which takes into consideration the geopolitical context and the presence of other competing claimants there). As Richard D. Fisher, Jr. noted:-
"Since the early 1980s the Philippines has lacked a credible air defense capability: modern fighters, anti-aircraft missiles, long-range air defense radar and the maritime patrol aircraft to monitor its vast maritime territory and economic zones...

In 2012 or 2013, the PAF expects to purchase its first modern maritime patrol aircraft, a mission that has been carried out by OV-10s – two of which were intercepted by Chinese fighters in early 2011. This year, the PAF is also expected to purchase new long-range radar to support its air defense mission...

...

In an article published in the PLA Daily on April 14, Chinese Academy of Military Science scholar Wang Xinjun warned that China has 'relative military superiority' over the Philippines and that China’s use of coast guard ships conveyed 'restraint, not weakness'.

...

But as part of its reaction to growing assertiveness by Beijing, at the July 2010 foreign ministers’ meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Obama administration offered to assist multilateral negotiations to settle conflicting South China Sea claims..."
And you have been specifically warned not turn this into a fantasy wishlist. Fantasy wishlist participants do not fare well in this forum.]


Here's a sort of summary: E-Notes: “Moneyball-ing” the Philippines’ Defense Architecture - FPRI

I think that it would work really well. [Mod Edit: No, it will not. As I said before in another thread, the most pressing issue in the immediate future is lack of maritime domain awareness and the lack of naval presence by the Philippines. How sensible is it for you to talk about the threat of DF-21Ds? DF-21Ds are meant to deter the US Navy, not to deal with the Philippine Navy.

More importantly, Felix K. Chang's list does not take into account the Philippine Navy’s 15-year strategic development plan, called the “Philippine Fleet Desired Force Mix”.]


Add in the Otomat SSMs that might come with the mentioned Maestrale frigates and that's some serious firepower. [Mod Edit: Serious firepower for a green water ocean patrol navy? Serious compared to what? I hope you realise that technologically, the Philippines has the least advanced navy of any claimant in the S. China Sea. Brunei, for example, has a more advanced and combat capable navy than the Philippines, as they have been operating missile armed gun boats (with the necessary maritime domain awareness supporting systems) for a number of years, unlike the Philippine Navy. This myopic focus on acquiring SSMs is a lip stick on a pig issue and is usually proposed by those who are still living in a platform centric world, or lust for the days of jousting where one visible force could be countered by another visible force.]

That would serve as a good defense system until we completed the slow modernization of our navy and air force. But I guess only the facilities should be made ready in Palawan while the mobile launchers (except the SAMs and probably the Harpoons), especially the long range and powerful ones, stay somewhere near that it could be transported immediately but far enough not to pose a threat to the disputed territories or international shipping or cause provocations.

[Mod Edit: According to old SIPRI data (complied a from a couple of years ago), Philippines' defence spending as a percentage of GDP from 2000 to 2009 and the amount spent for defence in constant (2008) US dollars [side by side with Thailand's figures] were as follows:

2000 - Philippines: 1.1% (US$1,270 m)------[Thailand: 1.4% {US$2,702 m}]
2001 - Philippines: 1.0% (US$1,181 m)------[Thailand: 1.5% {US$2,813 m}]
2002 - Philippines: 1.0% (US$1,240 m)------[Thailand: 1.4% {US$2,842 m}]
2003 - Philippines: 1.0% (US$1,369 m)------[Thailand: 1.3% {US$2,803 m}]
2004 - Philippines: 0.9% (US$1,275 m)------[Thailand: 1.2% {US$2,673 m}]
2005 - Philippines: 0.9% (US$1,287 m)------[Thailand: 1.1% {US$2,693 m}]
2006 - Philippines: 0.9% (US$1,310 m)------[Thailand: 1.1% {US$2,807 m}]
2007 - Philippines: 0.9% (US$1,538 m)------[Thailand: 1.3% {US$3,500 m}]
2008 - Philippines: 0.8% (US$1,402 m)------[Thailand: 1.5% {US$4,117 m}]
2009 - Philippines: N.A. (US$1,424 m)-------[Thailand: N.A. {US$4,908 m}]

Not only does the Philippines spend less on defence in absolute amounts, it also spends less as a percentage of GDP compared to Thailand. According to SIPRI data, Indonesia's defence spending as a percentage of GDP from 1990 to 2009 and the amount spent for defence in constant (2008) US dollars are as follows:

2000 - Indonesia: 1.0% (US$2,970 m)
2001 - Indonesia: 1.0% (US$3,136 m)
2002 - Indonesia: 1.1% (US$3,294 m)
2003 - Indonesia: 1.4% (US$4,397 m)
2004 - Indonesia: 1.4% (US$4,840 m)
2005 - Indonesia: 1.2% (US$4,731 m)
2006 - Indonesia: 1.2% (US$5,037 m)
2007 - Indonesia: 1.2% (US$5,478 m)
2008 - Indonesia: 1.0% (US$5,011 m)
2009 - Indonesia: no data shown (US$4,908 m)

Certainly, no one can accuse the AFP of being traditionally well resourced (even for its current modernisation efforts), especially when its historic defence spending pattern is compared to that of Indonesia or Thailand. Historically, Philippines is a house divided with presence of internal insurgents. Which is why -- spending for defence was never a priority. This is why the country is so unprepared to face external threats. However, the presence of external threats can serve to unify or to divide a country. And it remains to be seen how this will affect Philippine defence spending patterns over the mid to longer term.

The rise of China needs to be managed, especially as it is accompanied by the rise of Indian, Vietnamese, Singaporean and Australian sea power, even as the advanced navies of Japan and South Korea modernize their fleets with the latest combat systems. Make no mistake, the Indo-Pacific is in the midst of an arms race that complicates the security of the region's sea lanes to which the Philippines has a front row seat (and at the moment, not a master of its own destiny).

Andri F has shown again that he is not able to follow Mod directions in the thread. ]

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Old December 17th, 2012   #39
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New AFP Modernization Law

Mr. Aquino has signed a new law extending the armed forces of the Philippines modernization program by another 15 years and allocating almost $2 Billion for the acquisition of military equiptments ...

Philippines Extends Military Modernisation Law for Further 15 Years
By Jon Grevatt/Janes
12/13/2012

Philippine President Benigno Aquino signed into law on 11 December measures extending the modernisation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for a further 15 years and the allocation of PHP75 billion (USD1.8 billion) for defence procurement over the next five years.

The legislation, Republic Act (RA) No. 10349, also formally establishes processes that are geared to accelerate the AFP's acquisition of materiel by enhancing the efficiency and accountability of military procurement practices.

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Old December 24th, 2012   #40
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I really wish that this modernization law would enhance the Philippine Military as soon as possible due to its present condition.[Mod Edit: It is clear to the Mod team that you are not even trying to discuss the thread topic, other than to express an opinion that is total lacking substance and devoid of content. You should provide an opinion supported by facts from various sources (by typing the article title, publication, author and page number) to show us you have a serious interest in discussing these topics. It would do wonders for the quality of discussion on this thread, if you could do some research before posting again. Acquiring hardware does not automatically mean better military capabilities. Qualitative factors — adequate numbers of well-trained, motivated personnel, efficient logistics, comprehensive doctrine, effective cooperation between branches of the armed forces, and high readiness levels — are critical in distinguishing those armed forces which are developing real capabilities, from those countries which are merely on a shopping spree.

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Old December 27th, 2012   #41
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In Dec 2012, the Philippine Senate allocated pesos 121.6 billion (or about US$2.94 billion) for the DND in 2013 (which is more than a 12 percent increase over the 2012 budget of the DND of pesos 108.1 billion). Unfortunately, a large portion of this increase in budget will be eaten up by increased personnel costs, and personnel costs possibly account for 75% of the AFP's annual budget. In addition to the increase to 2012 budget of the DND, there are three other measures adopted by the current administration (one of which is referred to by W3-A Sokol in his above post):-

(i) Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said (in reference to Senate Bill 3164 and House Bill 6410 - "An Act Amending Republic Act No. 7898, Establishing the Revised AFP Modernization Program and for Other Purposes"):-
“The defense department has been getting allocations that they’ve never had before. And, in fact, as soon as Congress approves the AFP Modernization Act which will set aside about P78 billion (or about US$1.8 billion) for a five-year modernization program, then every year the DND will be getting at least P15 billion (or about US$362.3 million) to modernize its operations.”
(ii) On 29 Nov 2012, President Aquino and his Cabinet approved, on a number of infrastructure projects and P8.8-billion (or about US$210 million) for the acquisition of Multi-Role Response vessels in 2012-2016, which may be intended as a civilian capability residing with the coast guard.

(iii) As a one-off Dec 2012 budget measure, a number of programs and projects will be funded by P28.9 billion in savings that were incurred from unreleased 2011 and 2012 appropriation; as well as P4.4 billion in remaining windfall revenues. Measures specific to the DND-AFP are as follows:-
one, P60 million (or about US$1.45 million) for the Rehabilitation of Air Education and Training Command; and

two, P307.5 million (or about US$7.4 million) in additional funds to support the unfunded requirements of the Philippine Air Force to address its capability gap.
It remains to be seen how the above budget measures will affect Philippine defence spending patterns beyond the current Aquino administration, which is dependent on its present trajectory of economic growth.

There is without doubt, reform and institutionalization of the Defense System Of Management (DSOM), as part of the Defense Acquisition System (DAS). DSOM is how the DND-AFP currently chooses the equipment. According to President Aquino, the Republic Act 10349 (mentioned above and amends RA 7898 or the AFP Modernization Act signed in 1995) also institutionalizes the DSOM, which will ensure transparency in fund disbursements. Among the provisions of the law is the exemption of weapons, equipment and ammunition directly and exclusively used for the AFP’s projects, undertakings, activities and programs from value-added tax (VAT) and customs duties. Additionally, the law allows for funding from public-private partnerships entered into by the DND as well as multi-year contracts. On 6 Nov 2012, Aerotech Industries Philippines was awarded a pesos 69.5 million contract to perform a Major Structural Inspection (MSI) of S211 #021 of the Philippine Air Force. MSI, alternatively referred to as Programmed Depot Maintenance (PDM) or Inspection Replace As Necessary (IRAN), is a process by which the subject aircraft is taken apart and all its components — with the exception of the engine, ejection seat, and similarly self-contained systems — are evaluated and then replaced when required.

Further, these above changes will help the PAF that operates mainly helicopters and less than 45 fixed wing aircraft (3 C-130s, 2 Fokker-27s, 5 S211s, 12 OV-10 and 20 SF-260) to do the following:-
one, to maintain and restore more C-130s to an operational status; and

two, to maintain the S211s and OV-10s until the LIFT/SAA squadron is inducted; and

three, to have the organisational structure to enable the future acquisition of a LIFT/SAA squadron of 12 aircraft at a later date.
This is a big change for an air force that was not able to budget enough to sustain the 12 C-130s previously acquired, leading to crashes (last crash in August 2008, off-Davao and another in December 1993) and pre-mature scrapping of at least 4 air frames (and without preserving parts and engines). In the past C-130s were sent to Airod of Malaysia for depot level overhauls. By June 2004, these overhauls have been done in Philippines with the assistance of Lockheed Martin.

Despite the fact that the Philippine Navy in 2006 created 15-year 'sail plan' (see this Dec 2012 article on the ‘desired force mix’), technologically, the Philippines has the least advanced navy of any claimant in the South China Sea. This is because, the prior administrations have not provided sufficient funding for the navy. On top of acquiring:-
two Hamilton class vessels (formerly operated by the US Coast Guard) and renamed BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz, in early 2011; and

locally built craft like the recently launched landing craft utility and the Mk 2 multi-purpose assault crafts,
the Philippine Navy also sent out a request for information (Solicitation Number: #N0002411R2217) for a class of offshore patrol vessels through the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (which provides engineering and maintenance support to the USN). However, I doubt that the Philippine Navy will be funded to purchase new ships from the US (unless the potential acquisition is paid for largely by US aid), as they are also considering acquiring 2nd hand ASW frigates from Italy. It was also announced that the Philippine Navy recently acquired three AW 109 Power helicopters for P1.33 billion (or about US$32 million). Further, the Jacinto class of vessels (former Peacock Class) still lack a phase 3 upgrade and SLEP.

Unfortunately, there is a never ending stream of press releases coming from the DND that say or do nothing (eg. announcements about acquisition failure like the recent failure to acquire Fennecs from France). They should stop this news cycle and do the announcements only when a purchase is definitive (i.e. contract signed). This was the 4th or 5th failure in a series of attempts to acquire armed helicopters that dated back to 2006.

At this point, the DND has zero credibility. This lack of credibility can be traced from at least Voltaire Gazmin, the Secretary of Defence downwards. For example, the AFP Procurement Service about has about 7.9 million pesos worth of bid invitations. Instead of establishing a service support agreements with pre-qualified aircraft suppliers (and there are many around in Asia, be it in Malaysia, Singapore or Korea), the AFP Procurement Service invited potential suppliers to submit 18 individual bids for C-130 components. This mode of procurement is inherently more expensive and less efficient in keeping C-130s operational. It is hard to be optimistic when you understand DND-AFP's institutional deficiencies. Over years there are thousands of complaints filed against the AFP regarding accusations of fraud, and corruption, but each year, only hundreds of these cases are charged due to lack of evidence or lack of institutional capacity to investigate and prosecute.

Historically, Philippines is a house divided with presence of internal insurgents. The southern Philippines lies along a strategic fault line, with its porous borders, weak rule of law, long-standing and unaddressed grievances of Muslim minorities, and high levels of poverty and corruption offering a fertile field for nurturing terrorist groups. Since 2002, U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) has partnered with Philippine forces to conduct counterterrorism operations. This campaign successfully targeted high-value individuals and also diminished conditions that gave rise to terrorism and insurgency. The US funded and provided counterterrorism training for a Philippine Light Reaction Company (LRC) and various tools (including new Coast Watch Stations set up across southern and central Mindanao) for the Philippine Navy to operate more effectively in maritime irregular warfare.

As tactical forces became more proficient through JSOTF-P efforts, US special forces trainers began to shift to the professionalization of higher level headquarters and it included addressing prior AFP's poor inter-service coordination, ineffective employment of combined arms elements in their missions and lack of medical support, with the JSOTF-P providing Field Surgical Teams to the AFP during various operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). This enabled the AFP to adopt best practices and helped increase professionalism from a doctrinal and tactical stand point.

However, the ASG and the various Muslim secessionists groups are not the only threats within the Philippines. The New People's Army (NPA) continues to pose a security challenge to Philippine military and law enforcement agencies, despite having its capacity for action diminished. The NPA also benefits from the AFP's campaign against the ASG, as the NPA uses the breathing space to rebuild their capabilities in areas where they still enjoy support, such as, the Bicol region. Compared to rebel groups, the AFP are superior in weapons, equipment and training (including the ability to use artillery). However the AFP suffers from low morale, weak organisation capabilities (both in procurement and in internal controls), and ineffective civil administration in the various provinces that is aggravated by detrimental and divisive local politics; which is little wonder that Philippines is ranked number 56 on the Failed State Index and ranked 139th among 180 countries included in the Corruption Perceptions Index.

The more specifically a military organization like the AFP defines its critical task, the harder it should be for the AFP to adopt new innovations and their ability to adapt to new roles required in changing circumstances. To make a matters worse, troops were performing a lot of "non-core" jobs, such as guarding ballot boxes and participating in anti-smuggling and anti-kidnapping task forces. For example, there is a Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Yet the AFP is being used to make roads in places where the DPWH cannot and fails to deliver these governmental services (in the face of armed conflict with internal insurgents). Entrenched interests within the AFP as an organization will work against proposed innovations. Which is why -- spending for external defence was and is never a priority for the AFP, even after the closure of the American bases in the Philippines. This is why the country has traditionally been unprepared to face external threats/challenges (and not all in war fighting terms alone).

For those interested in the challenges in their defence modernization quest, I would suggest again that you read this CNAS article by Richard D. Fisher, Jr., namely "Defending the Philippines: Military Modernization and the Challenges Ahead".
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Old December 28th, 2012
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Old December 28th, 2012   #42
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I really wish that this modernization law would enhance the Philippine Military as soon as possible due to its present condition.[Mod Edit: It is clear to the Mod team that you are not even trying to discuss the thread topic, other than to express an opinion that is total lacking substance and devoid of content. You should provide an opinion supported by facts from various sources (by typing the article title, publication, author and page number) to show us you have a serious interest in discussing these topics. It would do wonders for the quality of discussion on this thread, if you could do some research before posting again. Acquiring hardware does not automatically mean better military capabilities. Qualitative factors — adequate numbers of well-trained, motivated personnel, efficient logistics, comprehensive doctrine, effective cooperation between branches of the armed forces, and high readiness levels — are critical in distinguishing those armed forces which are developing real capabilities, from those countries which are merely on a shopping spree.

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The declared annual budget of P15 billion (or about US$362.3 million) a year for equipment under the modernization act is such a tiny sum that it is certain that AFP cannot afford to buy fighters (unless there are additional off-budget measures taken at the time of procurement) in the next five years. With this budget amount, you can kiss good bye to any thoughts of 6 frigates for anti-air warfare, in the next five years too; and for the same reason. With this budget, the navy's plan for the acquisition of 4 sea-lift vessels, 3 logistics ships, and the partial acquisition of a new class of 12 corvettes for anti-submarine warfare, 18 OPVs, and 12 coastal interdiction patrol boats will be a stretch under this budget allocation.

The Philippines under the current administration has a budget plan but there does not seem to be a matching of the resources with the air force and navy plans. While this is a huge improvement from the past, it is unlikely to be seen as credible without the provision of significant military aid, be it from traditional (FMF from Uncle Sam) or non-traditional (Italy/France) sources.
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Old December 29th, 2012
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Old May 22nd, 2013   #43
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War is unlikely between the Philippines and it's neighbours to the north, like China (2012 defence spending of US$166 billion) or Taiwan (2012 defense spending of US$10.7 billion). This is because the power disparity between China or Taiwan versus the Philippines (2012 defense spending of US$2.97 billion) is just too great for war to occur.

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Philippines

Population.......................................: 91.98 million
Total Fertility Rate (CIA Factbook).: 3.15 (No. 52 out of 223)
2012 Corruption Perception Index ..: 34 out of 100 -- No. 105 in CPI
Literacy rate (and Life Expectancy)...: 94% (72 years) (World Bank data)
Ease of doing business index 2013.: No. 138 of 185
2011 GDP .......................................: US$213.13 billion (IMF data)

No. of Troops (active/reserve)..........: 120,000 (active) and 171,000 (reserves)
No. of fighter aircraft : Zero
No. of jet aircraft (S211) : 3 to 5
No. of operational C-130s : 3
No. of medium lift helos: Zero
No. of submarines: Zero
No. of LPDs, SSVs or MRVs : Zero
No. of missile armed naval vessels : Zero
No. of naval vessels capable of ASW : Zero
No. of naval helicopters with dipping sonar: Zero

*Defence Spending as a % of GDP ...: Between a low of 1.2% to a high of 2.3% (from 1996 to 2011)
*2011 Defence Spending...................: US$2.2 billion (at constant 2010 prices)
*2006 Defence Spending...................: US$2.2 billion (at constant 2010 prices)
*2001 Defence Spending...................: US$2.0 billion (at constant 2010 prices)
*1996 Defence Spending...................: US$2.3 billion (at constant 2010 prices)
Looking at the above facts, I am afraid that the Philippine President Aquino III, has set for his navy a goal too high and a bridge too far. The increase in allocation is far too little, it is just a short-term increase in resources. Even if a new build contract with a shipyard was signed today, it would not be completed within his current administration. Therefore, forgive me if I am not optimistic about the ability of the Philippine Navy to have the technical sophistication to manage a new multi-purpose frigate ship building program on its own, over a long duration (as it is a navy without ASW warfare capability and without a missile capability).

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Originally Posted by floodlight View Post
...We have available and capable ship builders in our country why not tap them? And besides, if these ship builders will be given the chance to build naval ships, we do not just provide them jobs, they will even be challenged to learn the latest technical-know-how of making naval ship...

To our government, to our beloved President P-Noy, to our Philippine Navy, give our own people the break. Give them the chance. They have so much in them to show and to prove. They can, we can. Instead of just buying, let's build our own, and we need to think about it now and start it soon.
For a country to specify systems and sub-systems in a naval ship building program, it needs a naval program office that can retain qualified and trained naval personnel, who have worked on prior naval ship building projects. The Philippine Navy has been involved in new builds but not a the level of complexity of a modern missile armed frigate with ASW capabilities (unless the US Navy manages the ship building program for the Philippine Navy or provides substantial help and guidance). As I have noted in an above post, the Philippine Navy had in the past also sent out a request for information (Solicitation Number: #N0002411R2217) for a class of offshore patrol vessels through the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (which provides engineering and maintenance support to the USN). Is this current reference to two frigates, a missile armed version of the 1,000 ton offshore patrol vessels (80m in length, with a beam of 10.5m)? Or is it something very different?

New build frigates from idea to delivery of capability at FOC typically takes about a decade. Only if the Philippine Navy and its appointed shipyard can stay the course for a decade, would they provide the Philippines with increased naval response options in executing the declared plan for building the two new frigates in the news report below.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFP
Philippines To Spend $1.8B on Defense To Resist 'Bullies'

21 May 2013 - Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday announced a $1.8-billion military upgrade to help defend his country’s maritime territory against “bullies” amid an ever-worsening dispute with China.

The announcement came on the same day that the Philippines filed a protest with China over the “illegal and provocative” presence of a Chinese warship and two other vessels at a Filipino-claimed shoal in the disputed South China Sea. In thinly veiled comments referring to China, Aquino vowed during a speech to mark the navy’s 115th anniversary that the armed forces would be given the resources necessary to protect Philippine sovereignty.

“We have a clear message to the world: The Philippines is for Filipinos, and we have the capability to resist bullies entering our backyard,” Aquino told naval chiefs. Aquino detailed a 75-billion-peso (US $1.82-billion) military modernization program that gives priority to upgrading the navy, which is one of the weakest in Southeast Asia. He said by 2017 the Philippines would acquire two new frigates, two helicopters capable of anti-submarine warfare, three fast vessels for coastal patrols and eight amphibious assault vehicles...

Even with the extra spending announced by Aquino on Tuesday, China’s military budget would still dwarf that of the Philippines. China announced in March its defense budget for 2013 would be about $115 billion.

The Philippines is also facing intense diplomatic pressure from Taiwan after the Filipino coast guard shot dead a Taiwanese fishermen this month in waters near the South China Sea...

<snip>
Keep in mind that this is a country that disbanded the air combat arm of its tiny air force by budget choice in 2005 (retiring their F-5s without replacement). Having lost the ability to train fighter pilots due to lack of equipment, there has been some discussion from last year on acquiring 12 LIFTs/SAA from South Korea. Thus far, lots of heat, talk over many months but no contract signature for the Koreans to begin production of the Golden Eagle for the Philippines. To be fair, under President Aquino III's administration, there has been improvement in their country's defence capabilities, which include:
(i) the delivery of all 8 W-3 Sokol helicopters, ordered under the previous adminstration;

(ii) a C-130 refurbishment program that saw a return to service of another C-130, with the Philippine Air Force having, three C-130 in operations again (after a long break of limping along with only one working herc);

(iii) the acquisition of two, 40 year old, 3,250 ton former US Coast Guard Cutters (Hamilton class) and their entry into service in the Philippine Navy renamed as BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF16), to augment their navy's limited patrol capabilities (there is some speculation that claim that PF16 has been up-armed with Harpoons, but those may be wrong, as this ship had an engine replacement. However, if funded, PF-16 can be up-armed with Harpoon missiles*);

(iv) the entry into service of Kia KM-451 trucks;

(v) the Philippine Navy also signed a contract to acquire three AW 109 Power helicopters; and

(vi) the entry into service for the Philippine Navy of a Landing Craft Utility and a number of small Multi-purpose Attack Craft.
As usual, they have an early announcement of intent (i.e. capability development by press release) but they have a track record of failing to follow though, as was the case with the recent failed acquistion of the Maestrale-class frigates and the earlier failed acquisition of ten Eurocopter AS550 Fennec helicopters from France (which by the way was their 5th failed attempt to acquire night attack capable helicopters).

*Having a missile capability, is not about buying missiles alone. Their navy will need to have right radar and sensor systems to make full use of the missile's range. They will need to detect and track the target, with sensors that are not on the ship (i.e. datalink for mid-course updates and other jam resistant comms with off-board sensors). On the ship itself, they will need radar systems and a variety of mission consoles for surface warfare and air warfare (and crew trained to operate them). They will also need to learn how to store and handle the missiles; and thereafter conduct at intervals live-firing of these missiles (to ensure that the missile inventory works, as the system ages). It is much more than just buying missiles. Its also about training their sailors to fight in an integrated manner under a PWO for each dimension of naval warfare (eg. air and surface warfare). To train, gain and retain these modern naval war-fighting capabilities requires multi-billion pesos investments over a long period of time. It is not as simple as just walking into a shop, paying US$1.2 million each, and then walking away with missiles.

Their characterization of countries, like China, as people (as bullies), is a symptom of their country's colourful political culture of symbolism over substantive changes - lots of flag burning at anti-<insert preferred country> (that is the flavour of the month/quarter for their negative emotions, at that moment). For some background, please note that on 22 January 2013, the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines, was summoned to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila and handed a note verbale informing her that the Philippines was initiating a legal challenge to bring China before an arbitral tribunal under the terms of the UN Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). On 19 February 2013, Ambassador Ma met with officials at the Department of Foreign Affairs and returned the Philippines’ Notification and Statement of Claim, thus rejecting it. This episode demonstrated that the Philippine lawfare approach against China was not going to work. And even if a ruling is obtained, China can and will just ignore the ruling of the arbitral tribunal.

Under Article 7, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, President Aquino is limited to only one six year term in office. This means that there is little or no chance of continuity in his defence policy, once his term ends. Even with this increase, Philippine spending on education and public works will dwarf spending on defence (which gives rise to my belief that the greatest enemy to Philippine defence is Filipino politicians and their pork barrel politics). While we do see a steady increase in defence spending, it is a steady increase from a very, very, very low base. But they have got to start somewhere and let us hope for their sake that this is a good sign of better things to come.
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Old May 25th, 2013   #44
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I don't understand the Philippine DND's desire to leak stories about an incremental capability upgrade to be acquired and developed in the future, at such an early stage (they should confirm this only after the FMS announcement is released). Instead of showing resolve, this news leak by their DND is the intellectual equivalent of a rifle owning cafe owner, saying that some soon day, he will go to the gun shop to buy bullets for his gun to improve security (and puts a notice on the door of his cafe to that effect). For clarity, he states that he has not bought the bullets, bought any optics for the rifle, nor trained how to use the rife as a weapon system, yet. He is sure the notice on the cafe door will have the effect of deterring his other neighbours, he does not like. When in fact, the cafe enjoyed security because the cops in the nearby police station like to go there for coffee. See news of the future defence capability development by press release, below.

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25 May 2013 -- PHL Navy bares plan to upgrade 'Hamilton' class cutters in service

...Sources earlier said that the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar and the soon-to-arrive BRP Ramon Alcaraz – will most likely get Harpoon missile refits to make them more capable of engaging intruders violating Philippine territorial waters. Aside from the Harpoons, the two ships will also be fitted with more sophisticated radars capable of detecting and tracking down incoming surface threats and anti-missile and torpedo decoying systems.

"These upgrades will make our Hamilton-class cutters more capable vessels. It will definitely satisfy our minimum deterrent capability as far as naval defense is concerned," the official, who requested anonymity, said. He added that the Harpoon is the ideal missile system for the Hamilton-class cutters as USCGC Mellon, the sister ships of the two in PN service, has been fitted with the Harpoon missile launchers. She also received an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) suite, including the AN/SQS-26 sonar and Mark 46 torpedoes...

<snip>
Is the contract to acquire the missiles even signed yet? And they are talking about it now?!? All this talk/leaks to show the current civilian administration is 'strong' on defence, when the Flag Officer In Command of the Navy declines to comment, for good reason. Despite my above comment on the press report, I do wish them well and hope they achieve IOC/FOC with the Harpoon capability in future.

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DND to procure 2 naval vessels

25 May 2013 -- The Department of National Defense (DND) is now rushing the procurement of big-ticket items, including the acquisition of two naval vessels to improve the country’s territorial defense. In line with this, DND planners held a pre-procurement conference yesterday for the acquisition of two service support vessels (SSVs) worth P2 billion each for an outlay of P4 billion....

...Defense sources said that Japan, Singapore, South Korea, France, and Italy have expressed interest in supplying the country with two SSVs that are multi-role vessels which could serve as a Navy platform for search and rescue operations during disasters since the ships could be fitted with hospital facilities and a helipad, aside from its primary role as a transport vessel capable of transporting one battalion of troops with armored vehicles.

“It’s a mission capable ship, though a little smaller than the MRV (multi-role vessel),” the source said. He said the pre-bidding conference would be held soon for the procurement of the two vessels with several defense contractors expected to participate.

On top of this, the DND is also in the final phase of its procurement of a squadron of T50 trainer jets from South Korea through a government-to-government deal. South Korea is also being eyed to supply the country with two brand new missile-firing frigates instead of the two Maestrale warships being offered by the Italian government...

<snip>
In the above latest Philstar news report, it is claimed that there is a 'rush' to acquire two new service support vessels (SSVs) with a budget of about US$48m each (or P2 billion). IIRC, some years ago, there was a plan to acquire a multi-role vessel (MRV) a budget of about P5 billion. The SSV replaces the MRV program. Not sure how a long delayed and now re-branded project (out with the MRV, and in with the SSV brand), with a lower budget (down from P5 billion to P2 billion), with news specifications, can be described as a rush to complete. Their press has a knack of hyperbole, given the the SSV has not even entered the pre-bidding conference stage; and is moving along in the usual snail like procurement pace. Before anyone gets all excited, under the old MRV plan, they were supposedly close to a deal to acquire the Makassar Class LPD (Length 122m x Beam 22m x Draft 4.9m), which did not occur. For context to illustrate the snail like pace, a few years before that, the Philippine DND were supposedly interested in the Endurance Class (Length 141m x Beam 21m x Draught 5m) under their long delayed MRV project, which also did not occur.

The Philippine DND also said they wanted to buy two Maestrale Class frigates from the Italians, which surprise, surprise has not occurred too. Given the latest news of tension between Philippines and another neighbour. They have issues with China (at sea confrontations regarding over overlapping EEZ claims - including an attempt at lawfare that failed), Taiwan (another incident of their law enforcement officials in a shooting-at-sea incident that again resulted in death of another fisherman) and Malaysia (long standing illegal immigration issues, and over a hundred of their illegal immigrants waging a private undeclared war/conflict that resulted in the deaths of Malaysian police and soldiers in Sabah, and characterised by their press as an attempt to take back Sabah by the 'so-called' Sultan of Sabah based in Southern Philippines), it is no surprise, their press frames any procurement delay and set-back as a 'rush' to acquire new, without understanding the implication -- that it is just another cycle of procurement failure repeating itself (and rebranded as a new project).

In the news report dated 21 May 2013 (see my prior post above), it was also reported that... the Philippine DND was planning to buy new frigates (when it became clear that the negotiations to acquire the Maestrale Class frigates had stalled). In other words, they are starting from scratch.

As expressed in my prior post, my concern is that the Philippine DND has never managed a project of such complexity before (a frigate build) and I am not sure, if they have external help to manage the project. See the link enclosed of what Rigoberto D. Tiglao of Manila Times, thought of President Aquino III’s speech at the Philippine Navy’s anniversary on 21 May 2013; namely, Aquino rattles non-existent saber. Keep in mind that this is a country, whose defence spending is between 0.9% to 1.2% of their GDP (and where both their education budget and public works budget is larger than their defence budget).

And off-course the local press must mention the planned procurement of 12 Golden Eagles from South Korea. Lots of sound and fury from last year's news but still no report of a signed contract.

I may wish them well but see what I mean by future defence capability development by press release?
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Old May 31st, 2013   #45
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Yep, that MRV now SSV episode, really makes me wonder, if any of 'civilian' politician in Philippines did have 'real' intentions for upgrading their military capabilities. Anyone knows for a country the size of Philippines (in area, demographic, and economic) their military capabilities is really under their 'true' potential.

Those MRV (now called SSV) supposedly an important priority for the Navy. However moving from one tender, then allocating time for another tender for similar program, change one specifications to another specifications, seems show huge management deficiency on Philippines DoD.

The thing is, many Filipino already known for their Management capabilities on private sector..thus this for me, just show another political games, that delaying one program to another, for domestic political chess game.

I thought Indonesian Political games already a messy one. Seems in ASEAN at least one other country still topping those 'idiots' on Indonesian Political circle, in term of sheer Political Madness.
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