-Duterte is not in favor of building up external defense
- Duterte said that he will not go to war with China
- In 2012, President Benigno Aquino allowed the Revised AFP Modernization Program and had successfully implemented 93 projects
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has stated live on PTV4 that he will no longer continue the AFP Modernization program.
Duterte said that fighter jets are just decorative planes as they are good only for ceremonial flybys. He also said that he is not in favor of building up external defense and will not go to war with China.
The Philippines and China have disagreement in the West Philippine Sea where China claims their rights with the whole sea area with overlapping claims against the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
International analysts noted that the tough-talking president will most likely assume a softer stance on the territorial dispute with China.
In 2012, President Benigno Aquino allowed the Revised AFP Modernization Program to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines which has been left behind by its ASEAN neighbors in terms of defense capability.
With China’s growing hostility in the West Philippine Sea, the Aquino government pursued defense cooperation with other allied countries such as the United States, South Korea, Indonesia, Spain, Italy and Japan in an attempt to modernize the AFP.
So far, the AFP Modernization under its Phase 1 had successfully implemented 93 projects worth $2.5 billion from 12 FA-50 fighter jets, 3 Hamilton Class Frigates, 15 AW-109 helicopters, 21 Aaeremachi Trainer Aircraft, 3 C-195 medium-lift transport aircraft, 4 C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, 21 refurbished UH-1H and many more.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy participated in an exercise with the Philippines in the Philippine sea on Saturday, June 18. It deployed two aircraft carrier strike groups in a massive show of strength that analysts said was meant to reassure nervous allies in the Asia-Pacific region.