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Duterte vows more modern gear for AFP

More modern military aircraft, sea vessels, and other equipment are forthcoming in the next two to three years to better patrol the country’s territory and combat security threats, President Duterte announced yesterday.

Speaking at the Philippine Military Academy graduation ceremony in Baguio City, the President has divulged plans to further modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines to be at par with its counterparts in the world.

“In the next two to three years, the AFP will have flight simulators, radars, support, patrol, and assault vehicles as well as new surveillance and fighter aircraft so that you can better patrol our borders and guard our seas,” the President said.

“All of these we do so that our AFP will be more effective in pursuing its mandate, in assisting law enforcement agencies in battling crime and illegal drugs and in undertaking relief and rescue efforts during disasters and calamities,” he said.

The country’s soldiers could also expect better weapons from the Duterte administration in appreciation of their sacrifices for the nation.

“You will be provided with the proper equipment and weapons, particularly body armors, helmets, and rifles as well as short firearms so that you can defend yourselves even when you are off-duty,” the commander-in-chief said.

With the support of the people, the President promised to sustain the military buildup to have “an AFP that we can truly be proud of – an AFP that will be at par with the rest of the world.”

The President’s military modernization plans come amid the government’s struggles to address the problems of terrorism, illegal drugs, and other crimes in the country. The country’s territorial dispute with China recently heightened after a Chinese ship was spotted in Benham Rise, an area located within the country.

Duterte said his government is committed to reciprocate the soldiers’ valor and courage by providing them with all the necessary support and incentives.

He promised to give the soldiers and their families the “services, benefits, and entitlements that you rightfully deserve.”

“At this point, I would like to personally thank all Filipino soldiers for your loyalty to the Philippine flag,” Duterte said.

“To those who risked their lives and limbs to defend this country’s sovereignty as well as those who continue to offer their sweat and blood to fortify the pillars of a great nation that we are presently trying to build,” he added.

At the start of his speech, the President paid tribute to the fallen soldiers and promised assistance to their bereaved families.

“Taos-puso akong nakikiramay sa mga nasawi sa kamay ng kalaban. Let me assure the bereaved that the valiant sacrifices of your loved ones will not be in vain. Your government will ensure that your needs will be taken care of.

That is my commitment to you,” he said. (GENALYN D. KABILING)