By Francis Wakefield
Department of National Defense (DND) Spokesman Director Arsenio Andolong Wednesday said that President Rodrigo Duterte has already approved Horizon Two of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP).
Andolong made the pronouncement in a press briefing during the Emblem Law IRR (implementing rules and regulations) launch held at the Novotel Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City.
Andolong told reporters that Horizon Two, with a budget of roughly about P300 billion, is expected to run this year up to 2022.
“All three (major) services (Army, Navy, Air Force) have put in their request which has been approved already. Usually, the usual equipment are here but of note, the multi-role fighter aircraft is included and has been approved, our UAVs, the long-range patrol aircraft and helicopters,” Andolong told reporters.
“And in the Navy, you will find this interesting, aside from the two frigates that are currently being constructed we will also purchase additional… and we will have corvettes and submarines,” he added.
Andolong said from Horizon 3, the diesel-electric submarines which the Navy hopes to acquire will now be included during Horizon 2.
“In Horizon 2, of course, there is also combat engineering equipment, the usual equipment,” he said.
Andolong said Horizon 2 of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP) is scheduled from 2018 to 2022 while Horizon 3 is expected to run from 2023 to 2028.
It was recalled that Horizon 1 lasted from 2013 to 2017 and resulted in the acquisition of 12 FA-50PH light-lift interim fighters, three Del Pilar-class frigates, two strategic sealift vessels, etc.
Andolong said acquiring diesel-electric submarines is a good naval deterrent.
“Well, of course, we will be joining the exclusive club of countries (which has submarines),” he said.
“In the Navy, there are two symbols of force projection or symbol of power, the aircraft carrier, and the submarine because the submarine is very hard to detect,” he said.