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New AFP Chief seeks a greater military defense posture to protect PH territory

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be able to effectively defend the country's territory from internal and foreign threats, particularly its marine rights in the highly contested West Philippine Sea(WPS), by strengthening its defense posture.


Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. highlighted this point in his assumption address after taking the oath as the 56th AFP Chief of Staff on Saturday afternoon, July 31, succeeding now-retired Gen. Cirilito Sobejana.


Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana presided over the joint change of command and retirement ceremony held at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. Faustino, who spent most of his career in Mindanao, said he wishes to establish a Center for Self-Reliant Defense Posture which shall “protect the country’s interests from foreign control” and “promote limited dependence and outside support for our defense requirements.”

“The cornerstone of our SRDP program will be self-reliance on our country's military industrial capabilities, as well as full exploitation of our own natural resources. Without this skill and self-reliance, our country's military operations will always be reliant on the generosity or intentions of foreign nations when it comes to the security of our territory,” he said.

“I intend to pursue a reliable and appropriate defense posture for the attainment of lasting peace. To accomplish this, we will follow a direction based on experience and best practices learned over decades of service and collective efforts to achieve  goal of having a safe and peaceful country for our people,” he added.

If the military wanted to keep up with its Southeast Asian neighbors, the pioneering military leader realized that it needed to be able to build its own aircraft, ships, battle equipment, and other assets.

To change the perception that the AFP is one of Southeast Asia's most underequipped military forces, the government implemented a revised modernization program in 2013 under the late former President Benigno Aquino III's administration, in which the government increased defense spending to improve the military's capabilities.

The modernisation initiative is currently in its second "horizon," or phase, which runs from 2018 to 2022. The first phase lasted from 2013 to 2017, with the third and final phase starting in 2023 and ending in 2028. Two missile-capable frigates, six close air support planes, and 16 combat utility helicopters are among the military's recent purchases.


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