The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is ready in defending the West Philippines but it also needs to be equipped, National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said on April 24 during a forum.
“We just want to assure you, having come from the armed forces, that we are ready anytime but you have to capacitate us also. Otherwise, we go for other things,” he said as quoted by Inquirer.net.
He said that the military “haven’t got anything except from the savings of the Presidents, so who do we blame for this? Do we blame the senators or the congressmen? Or we as a nation?”
“It seems like we are not willing to spend for defense, but we want defense. So where do you put the Armed Forces in that arrangement? Our defense spending is about 1.1% of the GDP. China has more,” he added.
He explained that they are now trying to build capability.
“We are maintaining our presence in the Kalayaan Island Group. We have put lighthouses; we will repair the airstrip. It will be an all-weather airstrip,” he said.
“If you want all these parts of the territory to be defended, don’t look at the armed forces. You look at the other officials,” he noted.