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Losing battle

 

By ROBERT ROQUE

 

WE tackled in a previous column the possible scenarios that could happen if war broke out between the Philippines and the all-powerful China which a lot of people believe we would naturally lose without the help of foreign allies.

Since anything could happen at any given time, the question in the minds of some people is that how would the country’s armed forces fare if pitted against a much smaller and less powerful nation like Vietnam in a battle without assistance from an ally or nuclear intervention?

A current military specialist at the United Na­tions Space Command revealed that Vietnam has 500,000 personnel, 64 T-90S, 200 T-62, 1,000 upgraded T-55, 500 BMP-2, 500 M113 APC and dozens of Mi-24 attack helicopters. Sad to admit, the Philippines pales in comparison with only 164,000 personnel, no tanks, and 114 M113 APC. We could not possibly match the Vietnamese in terms of equipment in a land battle.

Would things be different if the confrontation were at sea? Vietnam has four Gepard Class Frigate (Kh-35, 130-kilometer range), six Kilo Class Sub­marine (Klub-S, 200-km range), and 14 Corvettes while the Philippines has three Gregorio del Pilar Class (OTO Melara gun, 16-km range), 10 Corvettes and nothing more.

It is quite apparent in this situation that Vietnam would still dictate the outcome of the confrontation since the ships of the Philippines would obviously be defenseless. Our country would lose its sea territory in no time.

If the conflict were set in the air, Vietnam brags of its 40 SU-30 and 12 SU-27 while the Philippines has 12 FA-50 and clearly nothing to boast of. With her superiority and firepower, Vietnam could pos­sibly control our air space as well.

The Vietnamese Army, Marines, and Air Force could assist one another in launching attacks on our small and less populated islands. It is an undeniable fact that they are stronger than their Philippine counterpart in all aspects. It would be a losing battle for the Philippine military.

However, an assault on the island of Luzon could prove to be unwise and detrimental to the invading force. Vietnam’s economy and military industry are still weak and would make it impossible for her to launch an invasion.

Nevertheless, it is in the Philippines’ best interest to maintain friendly ties with her neighbors while speaking up to protect her territorial rights.

No matter which administration, the government should also be consistent in its policy to modernize the military and ensure that a big chunk of the defense budget does not end up in the pockets of the corrupt.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/

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