Department of National Defense

Faustino: 2 submarines on defense department’s priority list

Ferdinand Zuasola
Faustino: 2 submarines on defense department’s priority list

Defense Officer-in-charge Jose Faustino Jr. speaks to a crowd during his visit to Davao Oriental on Friday, October 14.

Davao Oriental Provincial Information Office

Defense Officer-in-Charge Jose Faustino Jr. says the to-buy list will be submitted to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as part of the third phase of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' modernization program

DAVAO ORIENTAL, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) has included two submarines in a list of things to buy before President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ends his term of office in 2028.

Defense Officer-in-Charge and Senior Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. said the list would be submitted to Marcos as part of the third phase of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization program.

“The list still needs the President’s approval. But it’s a priority right now,” Faustino said during his visit to Mati City in Davao Oriental on Friday, October 14.

Officials said two submarines would cost the government at least P70 billion.

Faustino said the defense establishment already received offers from South Korea, France, and Japan, among others.

France offered to build two diesel-electric-powered submarines for the Philippines based on the design and standard of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in exchange for allowing it to explore the Philippines’ vast sovereign waters.

Faustino, however, said the offer wasn’t as easy as it looked because the Philippines and France have no mutual defense agreement.

“It has to go through a constitutional process. We cannot just do that,” Faustino said.

The AFP Modernization Act was enacted in 1995 during the presidency of the late Fidel Ramos.

The law was amended in 2012, extending the modernization program for another 15 years with an initial budget of P75 billion for the first five years.

The aim is to build a defense system capable of addressing external threats.

The first phase of the program was implemented from 2013 to 2017 while the second started in 2018 up to this year.

The third phase would be implemented from 2023 to 2028. 

Faustino said the defense department had to recalibrate the list of things to acquire based on the government’s financial capability.

He admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the implementation of the second phase of the program.

Faustino noted that the Marcos administration has yet to sign any contract to purchase anything under the AFP Modernization Program.

He, however, confirmed the government has made a down payment to a South Korean company for the purchase of six Offshore Patrol Vessels.

Faustino neither confirmed nor denied that the government initially paid P3 billion for the vessels, saying he needed to check the amount first “just to be sure.”

The contract, he said, was signed during the administration of Rodrigo Duterte. – Rappler.com

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