AFP to attain minimum credible defense by 2016, drilling in West PH Sea protected

“Within our capability we will be able to extend all the necessary protection for the [British firm Forum Energy],” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said on Monday.

“We are getting closer to our desired state in terms of capability and readiness with our recent acquisitions, and those we are expecting to be delivered in the next few months,” Gazmin noted.

“We are waiting for the decision of the arbitral court so we can determine who has the marine entitlement in the area,” the defense chief said. Gazmin emphasized that the government will not ask for permission from China, “when you seek permission, it means the area is theirs. It is clear that the area is ours.”

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines is drawing closer to its projected minimum defense posture with the expected deliveries of more equipment under its modernization program,” he added.

The AFP will be receiving ordered fighter jets and attack helicopters starting late 2014 to 2015. Attack helicopters from AgustaWestland for Philippine Navy and Air Force are expected to be delivered before the year ends, while 2 FA-50 Philippine version will be arriving September 2015.

Forum Energy is expected to start drilling early 2016.

New AFP Chief Lt. Gen. Gregorio Catapang, last week, vowed to protect Philippine territories including the Reed Bank.

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