PH submits defense equipment wishlist to China
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippines has submitted to China the list of defense equipment it hopes Beijing can supply through a $14-million grant, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Tuesday, February 7,
"Na-formalize namin 'yan...Meron na tayong listahan doon eh (It has been formalized...We already have a list that is with them)," Lorenzana said in an interview with reporters in Malacañang on Tuesday, when asked about the list of defense equipment.
He said he gave the list of equipment to Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua "3 weeks ago."
Once China approves the funding, a representative of the Philippine government will go to China.
"Hindi pa kami nagpunta kasi binigay namin sa kanila 'yung listahan, na kung kaya nila ibigay 'yun, kung okay na, saka namin puntahan (We haven't gone there because we just gave them the list, so if they can supply the equipment, that's when we will go)," said Lorenzana.
Asked whether the wish list includes precision-guided munitions, Lorenzana said, "Yes." He added, "We asked for many things – boats, drones."
But in a text to Rappler, Lorenzana said the precision-guided munitions are in a list of equipment to be covered by a $500 million soft loan, not the $14 million grant.
He specified that the Philippines is asking for precision-guided munitions, not missiles, which are more "sophisticated."
Precision-guided munitions are satellite-guided munitions designed to hit a specific target. Lorenzana said PGMs will "lessen" casualties, compared to the use of unguided bombs.
Lorenzana bared the contents of the Philippines' defense wishlist to China even as he warned of that country's bid to build on a reef off the coast of the Philippines. (READ: China likely to build on reef near Philippines – minister)
In an interview with Agence France-Presse, Lorenzana said he believed China would eventually reclaim Scarborough Shoal, just 230 kilometers (143 miles) from the main Philippine island of Luzon.
Meanwhile, the defense chief also said that the Philippines has not yet formalized any agreement with Russia, which has also expressed willingness to provide the Philippines with defense equipment.
"Russia, we don't have a framework to work with them," said Lorenzana, responding the questions.
A memorandum of understanding on military cooperation with Russia is expected to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte when he visits Russia in May, the defense chief said.
Asked what could be part of the agreement, Lorenzana said the Philippine and Russian militaries might agree to joint exercises and visitation of troops.
"Parang, military to military engagement, exercises, visitation, saka kasama na 'yung transfer of technology, transfer of equipment sa atin (Like military to military engagement, exercises, visitation, and it will inclde the transfer of technology, transfer of equipment to us)," he said. – With a report from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com