Tue, Jul 06, 2010 - Page 4 News List

Millions spent on defense upgrade in Philippines

REUTERS , MANILA

The Philippines will spend about 7 billion pesos (US$150 million) on aircraft and surveillance systems to guard the country and help fight Muslim separatists and Maoist rebels, a senior general said yesterday.

Philippine Lieutenant-General Oscar Rabena said the air force would get 15 combat utility and night-capable helicopters, 10 refurbished UH-1H helicopters, a long-range maritime patrol plane, a refurbished C-130 transport, basic trainer jets and long-range radar systems.

“We have the plans in place for transition from internal security to territorial defense,” Rabena told reporters at Villamor Air Base, where a ceremony was held for the 63rd anniversary of the Philippine Air Force.

He said eight combat utility helicopters from Polish company PZL Swidnik, a unit of Anglo-Italian helicopter company Agusta Westland, would be delivered next year.

At the ceremony, Philippine President Benigno Aquino, the military’s commander-in-chief, reiterated his commitment to provide the troops, weapons and equipment needed to end insurgencies and protect the country’s territorial integrity.

“I will not make false promises to you or tell you things simply for the sake of making positive headlines,” Aquino said.

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