DEFENSE Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Wednesday the United States seemed more interested in showing off its military might than helping the Philippines build up its capability for territorial defense through their 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.
“My only request which I have conveyed to him [Panetta] is that the cutters be upgraded,” Gazmin said, noting that the first ship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, had been stripped of all its weaponry except for one 76mm gun.
“We requested that the second cutter be given with its weapons system [intact],” Gazmin said.
He said the Defense Department, with a P70-billion budget for military modernization, was eying a third gunboat from Italy.
Earlier, Vice Admiral Alexander Pama acknowledged that the cutters that the US had sent to the Philippines came without their weapons.
meanwhile, senators enrile and honasan are practically saying that we should look out for ourselves and prepare vs. China:
“We must prepare. We better buy war equipment. We better buy our weapons, our means of defense,” Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, a former defense minister, told reporters.
Enrile issued the statement after Chinese vice foreign minister Fu Ying on Tuesday accused the Philippines of being responsible for escalating tensions over the disputed area in the South China Sea (also called West Philippine Sea).
“The Chinese side has… made all preparations to respond to any escalation of the situation by the Philippine side,” Fu reportedly told a Philippine diplomat.
Enrile said the Philippines should be prepared to face this head on.
“China is grabbing the place from us. Nagiging grabber na ang China. Anong gagawin mo kung ang kapitbahay mo, malayo ang bahay niya pero pupunta sa iyong kapaligiran at mayroon siyang espada, tampilan at pana o javelin. Di bumili ka rin ng tampilan. Maghasa ka rin ng gulok,” said Enrile.
Senator Gregorio Honasan, chairman of the Senate committee on public order and illegal drugs, supported Enrile’s sentiment but said the country should first pool its resources.
“Tama si Senate president [pero] alamin muna natin kung meron tayong pambili, importante yun,” Honasan said in a separate interview. Honasan is a former Army colonel who had served under Ernile at the Defense Ministry then.
since money is the problem, it is clearly a job for congress, to find the funds, and to do it fast. in case diplomacy and non-violent protests fail. and before we lose more territory. parang this is just as, if not more, important than the corona trial, or the 2013 elections. mag-multi-tasking sila.