by Priam F. Nepomuceno, Philippine News Agency | Thursday, 23 June 2016
The continuation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program will give more focus on platforms that can be used to address the country’s internal security threats.
This was stressed by incoming AFP chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya Thursday.
“(President-elect Rodrigo Duterte) would like to start by improving and updating equipment use for internal security operations so he will prioritize the acquisition of modern helicopters and fastcrafts, with nightfighting capabilities,” he added.
Such platforms are useful in dealing with the country’s ongoing campaign against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and New People’s Army threats.
Visaya said acquisition of such equipment are included in the AFP Modernization Program as emphasized by the procurement of the night-capable AgustaWestland AW-109 attack helicopters of the Navy and Air Force.
The lack of night-capable helicopters and fastcrafts, according to the incoming AFP chief, hampered the military response when the ASG attacked Samal Island and kidnapped Canadians John Ridsel, Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Hall’s girlfriend Marites Flor last during their Sept. 21 attack on a posh resort in Samal Island.
Ridsel was beheaded last April 25 while Hall was executed last June 13 after the Philippine and Canadian governments snubbed the ASG ransom demand amounting to around PHP600 million for the two Canadians.
Visaya also clarified that acquisition of equipment that will beefed up the external capabilities of the AFP will continue as part of the ongoing modernization program.
“It (modernization program) will continue, but items needed for internal security operations will be prioritize,” he said in Filipino. (PNA)