Senator Dick Gordon commended as a step in the right direction the announcement of the Department of National Defense (DND) that the Philippines will acquire submarines earlier than expected, as part of its military capability upgrade amid growing security challenges in the region.
“We are one of four countries in Asia that do not have submarines. If the report about the purchase is true, I endorse and I am elated by it. We should go by the way of the Japanese. During the Meiji Restoration, their motto was ‘enrich the nation; strengthen the military,” Gordon said.
The DND has announced that the purchase of submarines had been moved from the military’s shopping list under Horizon 3 to Horizon 2. Projects under Horizon 2 will be implemented from 2018 to 2022, while Horizon 3 projects will run from 2023 to 2028.
The veteran legislator has long been calling for strengthening the capability of the armed forces in view of the range of external and internal challenges that the country is facing, including insurgencies, natural disasters, and unresolved territorial and sovereignty issues with neighboring states.
“Matagal ko nang sinasabi na dapat itaas ang antas ng kagamitan ng ating Hukbong Pandagat, Hukbong Panghimpapawid, at ng buong Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas para may laban naman tayo. Para katulad ng Finland, kahit papaano nirerespeto ng Russia dahil nilabanan sila in the 1930’s… Kung umangan tayo ng barko, umangan tayo ng eroplano nila e tiklop tayo. Dapat kahit papaano meron tayong panabla,” the seasoned lawmaker added.
The senator from Olongapo and Zambales pointed out that unlike some of its Asian neighbors like China, Japan, Singapore, Korea, Indonesia, among others, the Philippines had one of the lowest military expenditure which is why it has one of the weakest militaries.
“The Philippines had one of the lowest military expenditures. We only spent around 1 percent of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) on defense spending, which is behind the Southeast Asian average of around 2 percent of the GDP. Kaya it is really a positive development that DND had the fifth largest budget in this year’s budget GAA (General Appropriations Act). I also insisted last year on allocating a portion of the proceeds from TRAIN for the AFP modernization program,” Gordon said.