New Admin's Plans for AFP Modernization

In a democracy, a new set of leader changes upon the specific fixed period upon what the constitution stipulates it. And with these comes opportunities and risk, one being the change in policy, approach, and mindset upon implementing projects.

A newly elected leader may choose whether to stick with the status quo or not.


The former administrations started the AFP Modernization Program way back in 1995 by no other than former President Fidel V. Ramos. At that time, the Philippines have its economy growing and was branded as one of the rising tigers. 

Such a program also prompted the sale of Fort Bonifacio which is now the business district of Bonifacio Global City. All of such efforts to have a credible force were grind to a halt when the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis strikes in, with nothing to acquire under his administration.

The program was slow along the way when former President Estrada rose to power in 1998. He was the one who declared an all-out war against the Moro rebels in the mid-2000s. Few weapons were acquired at that time. 

One of which is the three Jacinto-class corvettes that were straight out from the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy fleet in Hong Kong when it was turned over to the Chinese after years of colonial rule. However, it was not enough to suffice the needs. 

In 2001, he was removed from power as the result of the people's power movement inspired by the 1986 revolution where the ex-President was accused of plunder and corruption. When former Vice President Gloria Arroyo takes over and becomes the President, the modernizations were mixed with severe allegations and irregularities and as well as the program itself was not laid out well. 

Not to mention that the funds are already there and are awaiting implementation. The original MRV and SSV programs, both were the brainchild of this administration was then revised by the next administration whose modernization efforts were realized. Upon the second Aquino administration rose to power in 2010, it was sought to realize a couple of programs that will enhance the foundations of the modernization program itself. 

With the old modernization program comes to an end, it was in his administration where a new law was passed and was continuously implemented until today. 

There were huge changes that were happening in the organization for the past six years. 

Some of the big-ticket acquisitions that took place in his administration were the ex-Hamilton class cutters/Del-Pilar class Frigates, BRP Tarlac, two FA-50PH (with 10 coming soon), 140+ M113s, and brand-new M4s, with several more among others.

Now, the new administration sets in. And the uncertainties are there citing that this administration sought bilateral talks to China, setting priorities to internal defense, the continuation of the past administration’s achievements, and so on. 

In this case, these issues are seeking to get analyzed as the new President Rodrigo Duterte and the new Defense Secretary Gen. Delfin Lorenzana will start to achieve things regarding defense issues within six months to a year.

Modernization Achievements.
Photo by Philippine Military Modernization Today.

Their plan was primarily almost similar to the previous one. The continuation of the horizons is deemed certain with horizon two focused more on the internal defense at the approximately two years. Accordingly, the projects materialized on the horizon one, the the brainchild of the former Aquino administrations that was handled over to the present Duterte administration such as the two LRPAs (long-range patrol aircraft), two new frigates (in which Hyundai Heavy Industries was deemed a winner) and six close-air support aircraft (preferably Super Tucano), are meant to be continued…

Accordingly to the sources as per the release on the MaxDefense Facebook page, the quotation is as follows:

“MaxDefense received information from several of its sources that all 3 major armed services of the AFP will be or were already requested to adjust its Horizon 2 procurement schedules but will almost entirely stick to its original Horizon 2 procurement plans. Within the first 2 years of the new administration, the the program will focus on assets that can be used in internal security operations.

Among those that will be given priority are:

Army: Individual and crew-served weapons, force protection equipment, night fighting equipment, C4ISTAR (Included communications and UAVs), gun and rocket artillery systems, additional M113s, ground mobility assets (trucks), and surveillance aircraft.

Navy: Missile Multipurpose Attack Crafts, Littoral Patrol Interdiction Crafts, SSV-LPD, and Landing Crafts-Utility (LCU), AAVs, helicopters for SSVs, and equipment for the Philippine Marine Corps.

Air Force: more AW-109s, Bell 412EPs, C-295M, NC-212i, air defense radars, and additional CAS aircraft in addition to Horizon 1 batch, smart & guided ground-attack munitions for CAS, FA-50, and AW-109E, and LRPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft) with Ground Surveillance & ELINT/SIGINT secondary roles.

Take note that these procurement plans are actually part of the original Horizon 2 "wish lists" submitted by all major services, IN ADDITION to the other line items that are more focused on territorial defense like additional FA-50s and MRFs, frigates & corvettes, and tanks.

Speaking of which, these are indeed promising as it seems to be.

Big-ticket items as this Frigate in Horizon 1 are still a priority.
The aforementioned quotations revealed something important. That is, the modernization program will proceed as planned. Only the difference is, priority is more on the remaining horizon 1 projects and the internal security armaments of horizon 2.

Speaking of which, the bargain of the modernization program in itself is indeed promising as well worrying at the same time. 

The good side is that big-ticket projects like the Frigates and the Long-range patrol aircraft are still the priority since the present administration is sincere to the contracts and projects made throughout the past administration. 

However, the bad side here means that other territorial defense projects such as additional frigates, corvettes, MRFs, and additional FA-50PH LIFT jets will be pushed further as they are materializing on combating internal threats citing that rebellion, terrorism, and kidnappings are more of a concern than that of Chinese aggression. 

Furthermore, the leverage for the territorial defense focuses more on the deal with the Americans via EDCA and the long-awaited decision of the arbitrary tribunal. Such an idea is true, not bad at all. 

In this case, the ball rolls along as the defense enthusiast and experts alike still waiting on what this administration will have to offer within a year or two. Too good to be true, but it is better to have a nice observation once in a while. 

M-113 APC with a remote-control gun.
Source: CNN Philippines.
Such things, once in a while, are indeed uncertain since the new administration has plans that have yet to be laid out. Speaking of which, change is now with the chance of improving this nation or the other way around.

Now with these plans laid out, it was not clear as of this moment as to when doing these things materialized and/or when will be implemented. As far as we know, projects not yet awarded or given contracts taken over to this administration are still checked out for irregularities as part of standard operating procedures all for the sake of accountability and transparency to make projects credible and clean. Speaking of which, it will still go as planned as quotations are given citing that the plans were already shown out. What remains is the materialization of things and the signing of contracts that make such plans a reality.

The point being: As long as the plans were laid down and were implemented accordingly, we are in good hands.


The plans for a modernization program will resume accordingly with the priorities about horizon one items and internal security items of horizon two. Territorial defense items meanwhile will also be materialized at the later date of the administration. In such a case comes the benefit and the risk. 

Such benefit that there will still assets coming for the whole forces to do its mandate of defending the nation. However, not all of those things will arrive at due time. Overall, it was still a hopeful thing to get done especially to the satisfaction of those who are witnessing it fully. Uncertain as it seems, but things are still meant to get done accordingly.


Unknown said...

Is DND and the government have plans on buying a main battletank? For me thats the best option rather than buying apc's for the rebels are also equipped with m4's,trucks,ied explosives and not to mention rpg's which about 3 hits can dissable those M-113 or even destroy it. Even a light tank will do fine for the philippines coz of its terrain wont really suit a heavy battletank. The scorpion light tank is mostly retired and its cannons are put in the apc's. I hope the government will prioritze these tanks more than the other branches. As of now PH bought about 2 Frigates???? Am i right? And how many more are they planning to buy? I heard they are planning to buy 2 more firgates and load it with torpedos. Do u have any news in this???

Pitz Orpiano said...

Speaking of Main Battle Tanks, it is reported that the DND together with the Philippine Government seeks interest on acquiring such weaponry.

The Frigates meanwhile, the numbers that are meant to be materialized under the Horizon one and is under finalization is two units. The total number required to acquire as per 2015 revised sail plan is seven units.

Gobi castle said...

Mag Pilipino na lang po tayo mga bossing..sablay po ang english naten..pasensya na po.

Pitz Orpiano said...

Naintindihan ka namin Rommel. Maaayos din yan.

Unknown said...

Yay 7 frigates?? That will benifit philippines. Ay naku onga mag filipino nlng tayo na uubusan naako ng english.pero ayos ha may plano rin ang DND na bumili ng MBT. Sa tingin mo po ano kaya ang bibilin po ng Gobyerno??? Dis year ba daw po yun? Kasi wala po ako nababalitaan na may plano sila bumili ng Tanke de pang gera. Puro mga drug addiks lang na nariring ko po.

Pitz Orpiano said...

Sa Main Battle Tanks naman, may plano ang AFP na magkaroon tayo nito. Pero hindi within this year or next year. Kasama yan sa horizon 2 and 3.

Kung anong klaseng tanke ang bibilhin ng AFP for sure di pa natin malalaman sa gayon. Kung meron man, for sure may updates tayo. Like our Facebook page para malaman agad...

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