US, PHL discuss AFP Modernization Program

Among the topics discussed during the meeting of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin and US State Secretary Mike Pompeo is the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program.

“We discussed the vital support of the United States to the AFP’s Modernization Program; and hopefully to our campaign against all forms of criminality especially terrorism and its tight connection between illegal drug trade,” Secretary Locsin said during the joint press briefing with Pompeo.

“We shared the view that the alliance must be able to ensure the unfailing mutual defense of our two countries; an arrangement that has contributed to regional peace, freedom, stability and prosperity since it was formalized,” Locsin said.

He added that “the key word is mutual; we have our end to hold up as well; and we need the means to do that from the United States. But ever and always there must be the sincere mutual desire to help and be helped.”

Locsin also noted that in vagueness lies uncertainty: a deterrent. “Specificity invites evasion and actions outside the MDT framework. But too much vagueness lends itself to doubt the firmness of commitments. For the time being, helping the Philippines build up our self-defense capacity should do it,” he said.

According to information released by the US State Department, Philippines is the largest recipient of US Foreign Military Financing (FMF) in the Indo-Pacific region, totaling more than $335 million over the past five years.

“These funds help the Philippines monitor and protect its maritime interests in response to China’s destabilizing actions in the South China Sea, while modernizing its equipment, personnel, and security systems,”  the US State Department said.