MANILA, Philippines – Despite disagreements in the West Philippine Sea, the Department of National Defense (DND) said on Friday, January 21, China has donated over a billion pesos worth of equipment to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
According to the DND, the first batch of the P1,052,395,057 (130 million Chinese Yuan Renminbi) total donations, already arrived in Manila on January 16. The initial tranche was worth P615 million (76 million Chinese Yuan Renminbi).
The second batch of donations worth P437 million (54 Chinese Yuan Renminbi) will be delivered on a later date.
The DND did not specify the arrival date of the second batch of donations. Meanwhile, the defense department said the equipment would be formally turned over to them and to the AFP next month.
The donations include:
- Rescue and relief equipment
- Drone systems
- Water purification vehicles
- Fire trucks
- X-ray machines
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal robots,
- Bomb disposal suits and transport vehicles
- Engineering equipment such as backhoes, dumptrucks, forklifts, and earthmovers
Under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration the Philippines had closer ties with China despite the latter’s baseless claims on some of the country’s maritime features. As commander in chief, Duterte never enforced the 2016 Hague ruling, which invalidated China’s claims in the features located within the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
In 2021 alone, the Philippines experienced different threats from China within the country’s EEZ.
Hundreds of Chinese vessels swarmed Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef in the West Philippine Sea in March last year. Only a few months after the swarming incident, Chinese coast guard vessels blocked and used water cannons on Philippine boats en route to Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in November 2021. – Rappler.com