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Yano: External defense ‘deficient’ due to lack of gear

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Modernization after internal foes defeated

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 16:59:00 06/04/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Lieutenant General Alexander Yano is bent on modernizing the military’s hardware, acknowledging the country’s external defense capability is “a little deficient” due to the lack of equipment.

He said the military would start building up the capabilities of the Air Force and the Navy to guard the country’s territory, once security forces neutralize internal security threats, including the communist insurgency and Islamic extremist groups.

Yano said the military was focusing on “move-shoot-communicate” equipment, mainly for the Army, the primary fighting force against internal threats, while, at the same time, “laying the groundwork” for the transition to external defense operations.

“It [external defense] may not happen during my term, [but we will] make sure that we have the proper plans to transition the next stage,” Yano said, adding, “And that is where the real AFP modernization will come into play, where the big ticket items of the Air Force and the Navy will come into play.”

“To be very frank with you, our capability as far as these aspects are concerned is a little deficient, we cannot really defend all these areas [country’s borders] because of a lack of equipment,” he said in a speech before business leaders at the Philippine Stock Exchange.

The Navy and the Air Force are running on a fleet of mostly refurbished sea and air craft from abroad, mostly from the country’s long-term military ally, the United States.

The military’s most recent acquisitions include squad automatic rifles for the Army. It is also set to procure night-capable attack helicopters, but these will be used for counter-insurgency operations.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has given security forces until the end of her term in 2010 to “defeat” the communist New People’s Army (NPA), “destroy” the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), and “contain” the Moro rebellion.

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-06-04T09:52:48+00:00UTC06bUTCWed, 04 Jun 2008 09:52:48 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am06

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