The Defense Secretary reported that the Philippine Air Force is scheduled to receive a stockpile of precision-guided munitions from the US government worth around 870 million. The munitions are expected to arrive this coming December. According to the defense secretary Lorenzana, he discussed the military assistance from Washington when he met US Charge d’Affaires John Law in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City last week.
The Defense chief said the smart munitions will boost the capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in dealing with various external and internal security threats, especially in its counter-terrorism efforts. He added that the precision-guided munitions, which you can drop at pinpoint accuracy.
The acquisition of precision-guided munitions significantly increases the military’s accuracy in conducting airstrikes when the need calls for it.
Aside from the military assistance program, the defense also discussed COVID-19 pandemic-related assistance, the status of the two countries’ Visiting Forces Agreement, the US’s foreign policy with the election of a new president, and most of all, the Philippines’ conflict with China in the West Philippine Sea.
PAF jets to be fitted with Sidewinder missiles
The Department of National Defense reported that the delivery of AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles would start within the year. These missiles will be fitted onto the Philippine Air Force (PAF) ‘s’s new supersonic jets FA50 Fighting Eagles.
The air-to-air missiles were procured from Diehl Raytheon of Germany for Php 1 Billion as the PAF transitions from rockets and bombs to missile fighting capabilities. The procurement of guided munitions from the US will complement this air to air capabilities of the Philippine Air Force.
Visiting Forces termination to extend termination. What? Ending to be extended?
President Rodrigo Duterte is seen no immediate rush to abolish the country’s Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, Malacañang said on Wednesday. But Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the president may postpone for another six months the termination of VFA. The President decided to suspend the planned cancellation of the military agreement with the United States last June.
In February, the President scrapped the Visiting forces agreement over its alleged lack of fairness in its treaty provisions and the US’s alleged assault on the country’s sovereignty and disrespecting the judicial system.
His decision reached following criticism of some US senators against his crackdown on illegal drugs and his ally’s US Visa cancellation, a former national police chief’.
The VFA was supposed to be terminated 180 days after the Philippines sent a formal notice of termination to the US on Feb. 11 this year.
However, Manila notified Washington DC in June about Duterte’s decision to suspend the agreement’s revocation.
The military pact signed between the Philippines and the US in 1998 allows American troops to participate in joint military exercises to visit Manila without a passport and visa.
Handling 2.5 Million Rewards
Government troops who were part of the force that assaulted seven suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulare Island, Sulu, on the first week of November, received 2.5 million pesos cash reward.
The Philippine Navy multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC) used in intercepting the bandits’ speedboat was not heavily damaged despite receiving fire from the terrorists. The finding shows around 20 shots received by the vessel in the confrontation at Sea. The report also shows no one was injured (among) the crew, and no naval equipment was damaged.
Apart from the reward money, four gold cross and two silver cross awards to officers and soldiers directly involved in the operation.
The Gold Cross is a decoration of the Philippines’ Armed Forces, which recognizes gallantry in action. It is the fourth highest military award of the Philippines. It is awarded by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, or other senior commanders, to members of the Philippines’ Armed Forces for gallantry in action.
The Silver Cross is a non-combat decoration of the Philippines’ Armed Forces, which recognizes distinguished achievement or heroism in intelligence operations and does not involve armed confrontations with the enemy.
According to the Philippine Army chief, the cash reward grant signifies the President’s satisfaction with his soldiers’ doing a good job.