Showing posts with label Armed Forces of the Philippines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Armed Forces of the Philippines. Show all posts

88 Meters Korean Anti-Submarine Warship Offered to the Philippines for ₱5,000 Pesos Each a real deal?

Korean Pohang-Class Anti-Submarine Warship “Chungju PCC-762” Offered to Philippine Navy
Korean Pohang-Class Anti-Submarine Warship “Chungju PCC-762” Offered to Philippine Navy for $100 USD

88 Meters Korean Anti-Submarine Warship Cheaper than a Smart Phone: Philippines to buy three for ₱5,000 Pesos Each a real deal?

Korean Pohang-Class Anti-Submarine “Chungju PCC-762” which launched on 30th June 1984, commissioned on 1987 and was decommissioned on 27th December 2016 after 29 years of service in protecting Korean waters has been offered to the Philippine Navy by the Korean Government.

South Korea will transfer an ageing Pohang-class anti-submarine warship to the Philippines this year in return for just $US100 (₱ 5,000.00), boosting its capability to patrol vast maritime borders.
The 88.3 meters corvette type warship has a 1,200 tones displacement, speed of 32 knots (59 km/h), and capacity of 95 crews.

It could be fitted with armaments such as 2 x MM-38 Exocet, 1 OTO melara 76 mm/62 compact cannon, 2 x Emerlec 30 mm cannons, 4 x harpoon missiles, 2 x Nobong 40mm/70 twin cannons, 3 x Mark 32 triple torpedo tubes with 6 chung sang Eoes and 12 x mark 9 depth charges.

South Korea, next to USA for being the largest source of Philippine military hardware, from fighter jets, and patrol ships to armored vehicles and army trucks.

USA has provided almost the same armament to the Philippines in 2013 but unlike the Pohang Anti-submarine warship which cost the Philippines only $100 USD, the Hamilton Class cutters from the USA cost the Philippine government a hefty $10 Million US Dollars.

Philippines received ten FA-50 light fighters from Seoul and two more will be delivered next month to complete the 12 aircraft, 18 billion peso deal.

The Philippines has expressed interest to acquire six more similar planes.

"We are hoping to receive the vessel within the year," defense spokesman Arsenio Andolong said of the warship.

"The transfer will be in the form of a donation. We will pay a token $US100, but the corvette will still undergo refurbishment."

He said he has no idea how much the Philippines would need to spend to repair and restore the warship.

Andolong said the Philippines may acquire up to three such warships, which Seoul is replacing with newer and faster vessels.

"This may be an old ship but it will definitely enhance our capability to patrol our waters and perform counter-terrorism measures," he added.

South Korea has donated a lot of military hardware to the Philippines and has expressed gratitude for Manila's role in the 1950-53 Korean War.

Russia Warship in the Philippines for Joint Exercise; Draft for Defense Agreement for Duterte Visit may 25

Dream Meaning OF WEARING BLUE OR PURPLE
Naval Group of Russia's Pacific Fleet Makes Port Call in Philippines' Manila for 4 days- First Joint Excercise

Philippines – Russia First Joint Exercise

Russian Warship arrived in the Philippines on Thursday for joint exercises as part of a drive for new security ties under President Rodrigo Duterte's revamped foreign policy of courting the traditional foes of Manila's top ally, Washington.

The guided-missile cruiser Varyag, accompanied by the fuel tanker ship, Pechenge, are on a four-day goodwill visit to the Philippines, the second port call by Russian warships in three months.

The move is part of what Duterte describes as a pursuit of a constitutionally mandated "independent foreign policy". He has made no secret of his grudge against the United States and has made befriending Russia and China the priority of his diversification drive.

Captain Lued Lincuna, director of the Philippine navy's public affairs, said the Philippines hoped to learn from the Russians during training activities and a demonstration of advanced equipment and weapons systems.

The schedule includes training and sports activities with the flagship vessel of the Russian Pacific fleet, plus a Russian concert in a park.

Video: Naval Group of Russia's Pacific Fleet Makes Port Call in Philippines' Manila for 4 days- First Joint Excercise

Philippines – Russia Defense Agreement

Russian commander Captain Alexsei Ulyanenko said the port call would make a "significant contribution" to strengthening relations and maintaining stability in the region.

Moscow wants to help Manila combat extremism and piracy, stepping up cooperation and training in areas where the Philippines has traditionally worked closely with its former colonial master the United States.

The relationship is expected to develop further next month when Duterte and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin witness the signing of defense agreements in Moscow.

When Duterte met Putin for the first time last year, the Philippine leader spoke at length about what he called U.S. "hypocrisy".

Duterte has instructed his defense minister to look into how the Philippines could acquire modern military equipment from Russia, like drones, night-vision gear, sniper rifles, and even helicopters.

Duterte to visit Russia on May 25

President Rodrigo Duterte will be visiting Russia on May 25.

During his speech at the induction of newly elected officers of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., Duterte said Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command chief Army Major General Oscar Lactao will be joining him.

"So I'm going there with Lactao, May 25," Duterte said. "[Sabi ko sa kanya,] Maganda rin ang mga Russian. Iyon lang man ang puntahan mo. Usap kami ni Putin."

[Translation: I told Lactao, "Russians are also beautiful. At least go with me for that." Putin and I will talk.]

He also reiterated Russia's commitment to helping the Philippines.

"Sabi pa ng Russia [said], "We will have everything you need, just come here,"" he added.

Improved Philippine-Russian relations

Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev told CNN Philippines' "The Source" in January that Duterte's visit to Russia is a "milestone" in the ties between the two nations.

"Both the Russian and Philippine side, we need to prepare substantial and solid package of bilateral agreements on cooperation in different fields, and we are now taking necessary efforts," Khovaev said.

He also said Russian companies are willing to explore Philippine markets. He urged Philippine companies to reciprocate and explore the Russian market as well.

"We are ready to cooperate in industries of transport, energy… including the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, telecommunications, agriculture, and many other fields. Both sides have a lot to offer," Khovaev said.

Economic, military agreements in the works

Economic ties between Manila and Moscow are at their infancy.

Russia has not had any foreign direct investment in the Philippines since 1999, central bank data showed.

Russia accounted for $43 million (around ₱2.17 billion) in overseas remittances last year, but it was only 0.2 percent of the total $26.9 billion (around ₱1.35 trillion) sent home by Filipinos from all over the world.

In addition, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said Russia committed to importing up to $2.5 billion (around ₱126 billion) worth of Philippine fruits, grains and vegetables in 2017.

Imports by Russia from the Philippines stand at $46 million (around ₱2.32 billion), according to government trade statistics.

Beyond economic links, the Philippines is also eyeing military cooperation with Russia. Defense officials have said they were looking into possible joint exercises and weapons deals with the Kremlin.

Building trust

In addition, Khovaev said he is optimistic that Filipinos would trust Russia more as the two countries build bridges.

"It's time for Filipinos to discover Russia, and vice-versa… and I have a strong belief, we'll trust each other." he said.

In a non-commissioned survey released by Pulse Asia on January 12, 38 percent of Filipinos trust Russia, while 58 percent do not.

These figures are far behind that of the United States, which has a 76 percent trust rating.

"It's a good result if we take into account so many decades of Hollywood-style Russian propaganda in your country," he said, in apparent reference to prevailing perceptions of Russia as "communist" when it was formerly known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Philippines has long been known as an ally of the U.S., even after it was colonized by the superpower from 1898 to 1946..With reports from Channel News Asia and CNN Philippines

Armed Forces united & published a manifesto AGAINST BBL Bangsamoro - Shocks President Aquino!

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Aquino ‘surprised’ by Bangsamoro manifesto

SEVERAL GROUPS of retired military and police servicemen, a number of retired chiefs-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and one retired chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) called for the junking of the peace agreements between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), in a published “manifesto” that President Benigno S. C. Aquino III said took him by surprise.

In a “Manifesto of Retired Officers” published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Monday, the groups urged the Supreme Court to declare as null and void the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, and the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), saying these agreements violate the Philippine Constitution.

The 13 groups which signed the call include the following:

* Association of General and Flag Officers

* National ROTC Alumni Association

* Kampilan Peacekeepers Association

* Fraternal Organization of ROTC Reservists and Veterans

* Filipino War Veterans Foundation

* Philippine National Police Retirees Association

* Veteran Generals and Flag Officers Federation

* Cavliers 57

* Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association

* Kapisanan ng Kawal Mindanao

* Philippine Defense and Armed Forces Attache Association

* Last Watering Hole

* Reform the Armed Forces Movement Foundation

Retired PNP chief Umberto A. Rodriguez also signed the manifesto, together with retired AFP chiefs Efren I. Abu, Dionisio R. Santiago, Generoso S. Sengu and Alexander B. Yano.

Political analyst Ramon C. Casiple said that in the military and police service, retired officials tend to have an influence on their junior officers given the culture and nature of these organizations.

“Within the military and police circles, they are influential in a sense that the active leaders now used to be their junior officers,” Mr. Casiple said in a phone interview Monday afternoon.

“I’m not saying that they can actually command their junior officers but we can say that their influence to them is considerable,” he added.

Mr. Aquino said he was “surprised” by the statement, as he noted several among the signatories used to be part of the security cluster.

“So, I was surprised that their reaction was to that degree and that they have objections,” Mr. Aquino told reporters Monday.

“Maybe what’s good is to have a public dialogue with them... so everyone can see if their position on the matter has sound basis,” he added.

In the manifesto, the groups called for safeguards on the proposed BBL, including provisions stating that the proposed Bangsamoro region is “a constituent part of the Republic of the Philippines.”

Other provisions being pushed in the manifesto include a renouncement of separatism, disarmament of all combatants six months after the agreement’s ratification, and conformity of the proposed Bangsamoro region with the Philippine Constitution. –read more at Business World Online

Philippines confirmed buying SKR/ Japan made diesel powered Submarine- For the first time

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Philippines is interested in acquiring Diesel submarines based on technology from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's Soryu-class vessel. image:asia.nikkei.com

Philippines to buy submarines and advanced missile systems for the first time

This will ensure strength in the South China Sea

Manila: For the first time, the Philippines will buy electric and diesel-run submarines, including advanced missile systems, as listed in its $22.11 billion (998 billion pesos or Dh83.166 billion) modernization plan that was approved in July, to ensure its strength against China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, and Malaysia which have overlapping claims in the South China Sea, sources said.

“The Philippine Navy will buy several submarines and missile systems in the next five years from private manufacturing firms either from South Korea or Japan,” a military source who requested anonymity told Gulf News.

“The ambitious purchase was scheduled after the Philippine economy grew, received good ratings from rating agencies, and allowed borrowing for expensive war materials, but the Philippines could not yet match China’s 26 submarines,” said the same source.

In 2013, the Philippine Navy bought two 1.400 tons Incheon-class frigates (also called Future Frigate experimental or FFX), manufactured by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries and STX Offshore and Shipbuilding for $400 million (18 billion pesos or Dh1.5 billion); two strategic sealift vessels or floating command centers which can transport three helicopters per vessel, soldiers, and supplies at sea, from Indonesia’s PT PAL (Persero) for $85.7 million (3.86 billion pesos or Dh321.6 million). The new frigates and sealift vessels will arrive in the Philippines at the end of 2015 or early 2016, President Benigno Aquino announced recently.

It is widely reported that the Philippine Navy is manned by three US-made refurbished frigates: BRP Tagbanua; BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz, but Japan’s defense ministry said the Philippine Navy has 80 warships; China, 892; Malaysia, 208; and Vietnam, 94.

The Philippine Coast Guard also bought 10 40-metre-long multi-purpose response vessels (MRRV) from Japan in late 2013 for $184 million (8.09 billion pesos or Dh674.6 million), in a loan forged with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2014. They will augment the Coast Guard’s 19 rescue vessels, when they arrive in the Philippines at the end of 2015, sources said.

The Coast Guard secured a $20 million (900 million pesos or Dh75 million) loan from the United States’ Defense Threat Reduction Agency (it has a maritime security project with the US’ Weapons for Mass Destruction Proliferation Prevention Program) for three aerial surveillance radars, two surface sensors and three surveillance planes for the Philippine Coast Guard National Coast Watch Centre in northern Luzon and southwest Philippines.

Recently, the Philippine Air Force bought 12 new FA-50 fighter-trainers made by Korea Aerospace Industries. six Close Air Support Aircraft; seven of 13 AW-109 helicopters; and six of eight Bell-412 combat utility helicopters made by Korea Aerospace Industries. The two fighters will arrive in December 2015 or early 2016, and the rest in 2017.

Japan’s defense ministry said the Philippines has a total of 26 combat aircraft, compared with China’s 2,582 combat aircraft.

The Philippine government also allotted $22 million (1 billion pesos or Dh83.33 million) for the development of three new naval bases that will protect its 36,000 kilometer coastline facing the South China Sea.

In 1995, Congress approved an $8.08 billion (364 billion pesos or Dh30.3 billion) military modernization plan for 15 years. But only 10 per cent of the approved budget was secured by a loan 15 years later, in 2010, the budget department said.

China, Taiwan, and Vietnam claim the whole of the South China Sea and several parts of the oil-rich Spratly Archipelago. Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines claim their respective exclusive economic zones in the South China Sea and parts of the Spratly Archipelago. - Gulf News

$1Billion USD - Upgrading 23 important Military Assets DELAYED again for Corruption?

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The Philippines relies on aging helicopters such as this UH-1 Huey seen on a recent mission in Mindanao. PHOTO: TREFOR MOSS/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Philippine Military Upgrade Stalls

Delay for $1 billion in defense deals leaves planned overhaul years from completion

MANILA—A push by the Philippines to overhaul its obsolete military has ground to a halt just as the U.S. ally is striving to deter China in the disputed waters between them.

A string of programs collectively valued at $1 billion stalled early last year, said military officials and executives involved in Philippine defense deals. The delay underscores how the government’s efforts to transform the country’s derelict navy and air force have become mired in red tape, funding problems and corruption allegations.

The delays leave long-held plans to build a “minimum credible deterrent”—comprising small but capable air and naval fleets—at least a decade from completion, said Jose Antonio Custodio, a Manila-based defense consultant. Even with a basic deterrent in place today, Manila would likely still lack the means to check Beijing’s assertiveness.

“We’re still at square one,” said Mr. Custodio. “With China building all these new bases [in the South China Sea], I’d say it’s already too late.”

Securing secondhand equipment from allies such as Japan and the U.S. may now be the Philippines’ only chance of quickly upgrading its forces, people familiar with the country’s procurement process said. The approach of presidential elections in May make it unlikely that any big contracts will be signed before then.

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President Benigno Aquino III has promised to rejuvenate the military, which has been degraded by decades of underinvestment.

A pledge to spend $1.7 billion on new equipment initially bore fruit, as the administration signed a flurry of defense contracts valued at $834 million in late 2013 and early 2014, including deals for 12 Korean fighter jets, three Airbus transport planes and a new fleet of combat helicopters from Canada and the U.K.

“The record will show that the Aquino administration has stepped up the pace of [military modernization] considerably, surpassing the procurement program undertaken by three previous administrations combined,” said presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma.

However, Mr. Coloma said Mr. Aquino still hasn’t signed a law passed by the Philippines Congress in February 2013 earmarking $2 billion for defense procurement. Mr. Coloma didn’t explain the delay.

Government finances have been stretched thin after the government spent billions on reconstruction following Supertyphoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013. Spending has also slowed after a recent scandal in which prosecutors charged three senators with corruption for their alleged involvement in the use of dummy NGOs to steal around $220 million in public money. All three senators denied the charges. Strict government procurement rules have been further tightened since then, putting the brakes on a range of spending programs.

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The Philippine vessel Ramon Alcaraz participated in bilateral maritime exercise with the U.S. in June last year.PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Contracts for two naval frigates valued at $398 million and for two long-range patrol planes valued at $132 million—capabilities that would help the Philippines monitor its maritime territory, where it has overlapping claims with China—are among those that were scheduled to have been bid out last year but haven’t moved ahead. “It’s a bureaucratic logjam,” said Mr. Custodio.

Foreign defense companies seeking to supply these and other systems can only wait for the logjam to clear.

“It seems that all programs are paralyzed,” said a Western defense executive whose company is involved in one stalled project.

Another Western executive said the Philippines was hardly unique in experiencing lengthy holdups for military equipment, but recalled how the country’s defense leadership had built momentum in 2013, only to hit the buffers in early 2014.

“Defense officials just don’t have the authority to make things happen now,” he said.

The Philippine Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines didn’t respond to requests to comment.

With China accelerating its island-building program in the South China Sea, Philippine military chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang recently urged Manila to spend more on defense as the country’s economy enjoys healthy growth. Last year’s defense budget was just $3.3 billion—far less than neighboring Singapore’s $9.5 billion.

A Philippines senate inquiry into the country’s military modernization efforts has meanwhile questioned the effectiveness of the funds spent so far, with one senator arguing there was practically nothing to show for the $1.4 billion spent on new weaponry in the decade to 2013.

Senators also looked into a deal for 21 secondhand helicopters, which the defense department canceled in April after only seven deliveries amid concerns about the quality of the technology, and with a Philippine tax official claiming that the aircraft had been ordered in exchange for kickbacks.

The defense department has denied the allegations.

The breakdown of the helicopter program has made defense officials even more reluctant to place new orders and expose themselves to further scrutiny, said Mr. Custodio.

Mr. Aquino has turned to allies for help. On a recent state visit to Japan, he requested secondhand P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, having already received a $183 million loan from Tokyo to fund the construction of 10 new patrol boats. Tokyo has said it is considering the requests, though it hasn’t committed to anything specific. Australia, South Korea and the U.S. have all donated used military kit to Manila in recent years and have signaled a willingness to do more.

But hand-me-downs won’t deliver a deterrent capable of influencing decision makers in Beijing, Mr. Custodio says. “The Chinese are building islands on our doorstep.”  - THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Write to Trefor Moss at trefor.moss@wsj.com

AFP is reinforcing rusting Navy ship on Spratly Ayungin reef outpost with Welding and Cement

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Filipino soldiers wave from the dilapidated Sierra Madre ship of the Philippines Navy as it is anchored near Ayungin shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) in the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, Philippines, in this photo taken in May. Photo: Reuters

Philippines reinforcing rusting Navy ship on Spratly reef outpost

Manila:  The Philippines navy is quietly reinforcing the hull and deck of a rusting ship it ran aground on a disputed South China Sea reef in 1999 to stop it breaking apart, determined to hold the shoal as Beijing creates a string of man-made islands nearby.

Using wooden fishing boats and other small craft, the navy has run the gauntlet of the Chinese coastguard to move cement, steel, cabling and welding equipment to the BRP Sierra Madre since late last year, according to two navy officers who have been inside the vessel.

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The BRP Sierra Madre, a marooned transport ship which Philippine Marines live on as a military outpost, photographed last year. Photo: Reuters

The 100 meter-long tank landing ship was built for the US Navy during World War Two. It was eventually transferred to the Philippines navy, which deliberately grounded it on Second Thomas Shoal to mark Manila's claim to the reef in the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea. A small contingent of Philippine soldiers are stationed onboard.

Manila regards Second Thomas Shoal, which lies 195 km south-west of the Philippines region of Palawan, as being within its exclusive economic zone. China, which claims virtually all the South China Sea, says the reef is part of its territory.

"We know China has been waiting for the ship to disintegrate but we are doing everything to hold it together," said one of the officers, adding that while the work was progressing slowly, it should be finished by the year-end.

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A newly deployed Philippine Marine, part of a military detachment stationed aboard the BRP Sierra Madre, fishes near the ship in the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this photo taken last year. Photo: Reuters

The other naval officer said welding was being done at night because of the heat. Concrete foundations were being laid inside the ship's hull to try to stabilize it, he added.

Without giving exact dates, both sources said they witnessed the repairs taking place earlier this year. They declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The soldiers currently stationed on the ship, who are demolition experts, were doing the work, said the second source.

Just to the west of Second Thomas Shoal is Mischief Reef, one of seven coral formations in the Spratlys that China is rapidly turning into islands that Beijing says will have undefined military purposes.

Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims to the Spratly waterway, which is some 1,100 km from the Chinese mainland.

Asked about the repairs, Philippine Foreign Ministry spokesman Charles Jose declined to comment. But such work would not violate an informal code of conduct signed in 2002 by China and south-east Asian states that prohibited any change to the status quo in disputed areas, he said.

"In our view, repairs and maintenance of existing facilities are allowed ... especially if such repairs and maintenance work are for the safety of our personnel and safety of navigation," Mr Jose added.

A Philippines general familiar with the repairs  said the ship's hull and deck were being strengthened, and air-conditioning units added.

"We are improving the living quarters inside, to make life for our soldiers more comfortable," he said, declining to give further details about the repairs or to be identified.

Photos show a pockmarked vessel covered in rust, sitting on the permanently submerged reef but listing slightly to one side. Much of the boat's hull is visible.

Besides being a military outpost, the BRP Sierra Madre is also a commissioned Philippine navy ship.

That means Manila could request U.S. military assistance under a decades-old security treaty with Washington if the ship was attacked, said senior Philippine military officials.

"Even if it's covered with rust, it will remain an active duty commissioned navy ship. It's a symbol of our sovereignty," said the Philippine general.

Second Thomas Shoal illustrates the mismatch in power between the Philippines and China.

Since the start of 2014, the Philippine navy's regular attempts to resupply soldiers on the BRP Sierra Madre with food and water have become a cat-and-mouse routine, with large Chinese coastguard vessels on patrol in the area trying to block the path of the smaller Philippine boats, naval officials said.

The Philippine vessels have always got through by making a run for the shoal's shallow waters, which aren't deep enough for the Chinese coastguard, naval officials said. The tear-shaped shoal itself is large, some 10-11 nautical miles from top to bottom.

Zhang Baohui, a mainland security expert at Hong Kong's Lingnan University, said Beijing would be angry about the repairs, adding that Chinese ships would probably continue their "menacing" tactics. But they would not do anything that could be considered an act of war, Dr Zhang said.

"The larger geo-strategic context is more important than Second Thomas Shoal," he said. - Reuters/The Sydney Morning Herald

Google Maps removes Chinese name for disputed South China Sea reef Scarborough Shoals

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Google Maps shows the name Scarborough Shoal for the disputed island Photo: Google Maps

Google drops Chinese name from Maps after South China Sea controversy

Following pressure from the Philippines, Google redacts the Chinese name for the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea

Google has removed the Chinese name for a disputed shoal in the South China Sea from its Maps service, following protests from Philippine citizens.

Google Maps English service on Tuesday corrected the labeling of the atoll to read Scarborough Shoal, the internationally neutral term for the territory claimed by both the Philippines and China.

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Chinese protesters in Los Angeles, part of an escalating territorial dispute over the Huangyan Island, the Chinese name for Scarborough Shoal (Alamy)- image: The Telegraph

The move came after more than 2,000 people signed an online petition on Change.org asking for Google to stop identifying the shoal as part of China’s Zhongsha Island chain.

“We’ve updated Google Maps to fix the issue. We understand that geographic names can raise deep emotions which is why we worked quickly once this was brought to our attention,” Google’s office in Manila said in a statement.

In 2012, China and the Philippines engaged in a standoff at Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing ground, after a Philippine warship attempted to expel Chinese fishing boats in the area. China has controlled the shoal since, though it is some 650 km away from Hainan island, the nearest major Chinese landmass.

China bases its claim to the area on its “nine-dash line”, a demarcation based on historical records that decrees almost the entire to South China Sea as Chinese territory.

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A Filipino holds a sign during a demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy in Los Angeles (Alamy) - image: The Telegraph

The Philippines claims the shoal as part of its exclusive economic zone under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“China’s sweeping claim of South China Sea under their nine-dash line purportedly historical boundary is illegal and is creating tension among nations,” the petition read.

“Google maps showing this is part of Zhongsha island chain gives credence to what is plainly a territory grab that peace loving nations should stand against.”

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Construction at Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the south China Sea by China (EPA) -image: The Telegraph

The kerfuffle comes at a moment when tension between China and the Philippines over South China Sea territory is high, following months of rapid and dramatic land reclamation work by China on the Spratly Islands, another disputed archipelago.

Last week the Philippines launched a case in the Permanent Court of Attribution in The Hague in an attempt to prove that China’s “nine-dash line” claim is incompatible with UNCLOS. - Source: The Telegraph

Philippines preparing Billion Dollars fund for Acquisition of NEW Submarine, Missiles, Ships, radars for AFP Upgrade

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Kilo Class Diesel Submarine. Del Rosario said that between 2018 and 2023 the Philippines would buy electric-diesel submarines ($200 - $500 Million USD per unit)and advanced missile systems.

PH ramps up military spending in face of China threat

MANILA - The Philippines plans to ramp up military spending over the next 13 years, earmarking more than $20 billion to modernize its forces in the face of Beijing's maritime ambitions in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), a top Air Force official told Reuters.

Major-General Raul del Rosario, military chief of plans, said the blueprint includes installing radars and sensors, and buying equipment such as submarines, frigates, fighters, surveillance planes and missile systems.

"By the time, we complete this plan, we will have complete coverage of the South China Sea," said del Rosario, a former fighter pilot, showing the military's detailed plan that was approved on Friday.

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"We will have 24/7 awareness of what is happening in the disputed area and we'll be able to respond quicker to any contingency in our own exclusive economic zone."

He said the ambitious plan was initiated in 2013, but top brass had only approved overall spending of 998 billion pesos ($22.11 billion) last week.

Del Rosario said 83 billion pesos had been earmarked for the first five years, 444 billion pesos for the second five years and 471 billion pesos for the last five years.

In 1995, Congress had earmarked 364 billion pesos for a similar 15-year plan. Less than one-tenth of that sum was actually spent by 2010.

The modernization program is designed to strengthen Manila's claims in the South China Sea, believed to be rich in energy deposits.

China has become increasingly assertive in the South China Sea, building artificial islands in areas over which the Philippines and other countries have rival claims. The moves have sparked alarm regionally and in Washington.

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SUBMARINES, MISSILES AND SURVEILLANCE PLANES

President Benigno Aquino has promised the military about 34 billion pesos this year, which will fund the purchase of two frigates and a twin-engine long range maritime aircraft.

So far, the government has given the military 9.4 billion pesos in 2014. This has been used to purchase eight combat utility helicopters and as a downpayment for 12 FA-50 fighter-trainers from South Korea. Two of the aircraft are expected in 2016.

Del Rosario said that between 2018 and 2023 the Philippines would buy electric-diesel submarines and advanced missile systems.

Three aerial surveillance radars with a range of 350 nautical miles will also be installed in Ilocos Norte, Lubang island and Mount Salacot in Palawan, all facing the South China Sea to detect movements in the disputed area.

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These will complement the navy's two surface sensors capable of detecting ship activities 200 miles away. Three surveillance planes will also be on constant patrol in the area.

"We do not aim to defeat China," del Rosario said. "But our goal is make any state think twice before attacking. We will make sure anybody attacking us would end up with a bloodied nose." -  ABS-CBN News

2 of 12 FA-50 Fighter jets delivered - now flying with Philippine Air Force

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Philippines Receives Two F-50s From Korea

Two of the 12 FA-50 fighters of the ₱18.9 billion Php contract signed by President Benigno C. Aquino III in South Korea on March 28, 2014 has been received by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) ahead of schedule in December 2015. "FA-50PH's maiden flight took place on 19 June after the Philippines has signed a contract

Two of the 12 FA-50 fighters of the ₱18.9 Php billion contract signed by President Benigno C. Aquino III in South Korea on March 28, 2014 has been received by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) ahead of schedule in December 2015.

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"FA-50PH's maiden flight took place on 19 June after the Philippines has signed a contract for 12 KAI FA-50 fighter aircraft in March last year," South Korea's Korean Aerospace Industry said

The FA-50 is an armed variant of the T-50 advanced jet trainer, which KAI jointly developed with Lockheed Martin. Other variants include the TA-50, a lightly armed variant of the original aircraft, and the T-50B, which is optimized as a performance aircraft. The T-50B is operational with South Korea's display team, the Black Eagles

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High timer PAF pilots were selected to train using the FA-50 fighters in South Korea. These pilots will then become the instructor pilots to train the other pilots in army. The new FA-50s have a more advanced weaponry system than what the country has in present, which are 'ancient' planes like Nomad which can do only 8-9 hour round trips, as Pres. Aquino told reporters in Busan, South Korea. It could load up to 4.5 tons of weapons and has a wide-range of mobilization system. FA-50 has also, 20 mm three-barrel gun that can fire at extremely high rate internally installed. FA-50 can be fitted with AIM-9 Sidewinder, a short-range air-to-air missile; AGM-65, an air-to-surface missile designed for close-air support missions; cluster bombs and rocket launchers. KAI assured that by 2017 the procurement will be complete. - Manila Channel and Flight Global

 

 

Philippines gets first ₱1.8 Billion worth New C-295 Plane this March 2015

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In this photo released by Airbus Defence and Space, Portugal's C295 tactical airlifter is seen releasing chaff and flare countermeasures- image source: philSTAR

 

Philippines gets first C-295 plane this month

MANILA, Philippines - The government will receive this month one of the three medium lift fixed wing aircraft it acquired from a Spanish firm.

Defense Undersecretary Fernando Manalo said the first C-295 plane would be delivered by Airbus Military in Clark within March 23 to 25.

"It will be the first delivery of the brand new aircraft. We will be there to receive the aircraft delivered from Spain," Manalo said in a recent interview.

The Air Force welcomed the development, saying the aircraft would provide added capability in times of disasters.

"It will serve as additional transport support to the armed forces' requirements [and complement] the three existing C-130s," Air Force spokesman Lt. Col Enrico Canaya said.

"They will be especially helpful in HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster response) operations," he added.

Last year, The STAR reported that Airbus Military won the bidding for the supply of three medium lift fixed wing aircraft worth ₱5 billion.

The notice of award was issued to the aircraft manufacturer in February 2014.

Airbus offered to supply three C-295 planes for ₱5.29 billion, lower than the approved budget of ₱5.3 billion.

Airbus said the C-295 is "the most capable and versatile transport and surveillance aircraft." It can carry as much as nine tons of payload or up to 71 people at a maximum cruise speed of 260 kt or 480 kilometers per hour.

The acquisition is expected to boost the overall lift capability of the Air Force.

The two other C-295 planes are scheduled to arrive next year.

Other aircraft due for delivery this year are six units of close air support aircraft worth ₱4.97 billion, eight units of combat utility helicopters worth ₱4.8 billion, eight units of attack helicopters worth P₱.44-billion, two units of lead-in fighter trainer jets worth ₱3.16 billion and two units of light lift aircraft worth P813 million. - philSTAR

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