By FRANCIS WAKEFIELD
THE Philippines is by far the largest recipient of US military assistance in Asia reaching billions of pesos, and Washington has been supporting the Armed Forces’ modernization goals through a variety of programs and initiatives, the United States Embassy disclosed.
In a statement following the visit of US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall G. Schriver to the country, the US Embassy said in the past few years, the United States has delivered millions of dollars worth of planes, ships, armored vehicles, and small arms to the Philippines and has been training side by side with its Filipino allies.
It said that from Jan. 1, 2017 to the present, US grants funded the delivery of military equipment worth over P5 billion ($95 million) to the Armed Forces.
– January 2017: Raven tactical unmanned aerial vehicle system worth R60 million ($1.2 million) which was first tested by the Armed Forces during the Balikatan military exercises and used in Marawi City;
– May 18, 2017: 200 Glock pistols, 300 M4 carbines, 100 grenade launchers, individual operator gear, and four mini-guns to be mounted in helicopters, totaling P250 million ($5 million);
– May 22, 2017: Twenty-five combat rubber raiding craft and 30 outboard motors worth P250 million ($5 million) to support the Philippine Marine Corps counter terror efforts;
– July 27, 2017: Two C-208 Cessna aircraft ISR platforms for the Philippine Air Force worth P1.6 billion ($33 million), including the cost of extra equipment and training;
– Aug. 22, 2017: A tethered Aerostat and radar system for the Philippine Navy valued at nearly P923 million ($18.5 million), including spare parts and training;
– Aug. 22, 2017: Supplies to the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, the Animal Health and Welfare Division, and the national AI reference laboratory worth approximately P1 million ($20,000). The Defense Threat Reduction Agency granted the materials to these agencies, all of which are actively involved in the Department of Agriculture’s response to the H5N6 Avian Influenza outbreak in the Philippines.
– February 2018: Forty-one rubber boats with outboard engines valued at P41 million ($794,000), given to the Philippine Navy.
– March 13, 2018: Scan Eagle UAS to be used for maritime domain awareness, HA/DR, and counterterrorism worth P687 million ($13.2 million), including the cost of training;
– May 2018: Five-hundred twenty-five sets of ballistic vests, lightweight ballistic plates, tactical ballistic helmets, and accessories provided through the Counterterrorism Train and Equip Program, valued at P178 million ($3.4 million);
– Aug. 14, 2018: Special Airborne Mission Installation and Response system which provides the C-130 Hercules with advanced command and control, communications, computer, and surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, valued at P807 million ($15.1 million), including the cost of training, installation, and sustainment support.