Philippines signed a 5 year contract in Italy Defense Ministry to acquire the following;
- Italian Fighter-bomber Jets
- Unmanned surveillance Aircrafts
Mr. Gazmin together with a team from the Department of National Defense's newly formed Acquisition Defense System (ADS), went to Italy to sign a five-year contract with that country's Defense Ministry for the acquisition of fighter-bomber jets, a frigate, a destroyer and unmanned surveillance aircrafts, among others.
Gazmin said the government is working on an earmarked ₱70-billion budget to boost the military's capability in territorial defense.
US no more bases like Subic bay Clark in the Philippines
A Senior US official said despite the growing need to increase security engagement with the Philippines, the US still does not plan to have permanent bases in the Philippines but remains committed to helping the country address internal security threats.
Andrew Shapiro, State Department assistant secretary for political and military affairs, said the Philippines's internal security threat has now shifted from terrorism to maritime concerns as the country continues to raise concerns on the Chinese intrusions in the disputed islands on the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea).
During his visit to the Philippines, Shapiro met with senior officials from the Departments of National Defense and of Foreign Affairs to discuss measures on redirecting US military assistance to address internal security threats.
Shapiro said the traditional military assistance that the US gave to the Philippines for fighting terrorism in Mindanao, gave the country "great successes" as proven by the recent deaths of top bandit and terrorist leaders operating in the southern Philippines.
"Given the progress in addressing that threat [terrorism], we can transition our support toward maritime security," said Shapiro in a press briefing on Friday with Manila-based journalists.
"Discussions [focused] on how to deepen partnerships and to work very closely for support to the Philippines's internal security and with their maritime security needs as well," said Shapiro.
Shapiro said the US Congress has recently approved transfer of US military equipment [Coast Guard Cutter] that will further help in the Philippines's maritime security needs. The US also intends to increase humanitarian assistance in disaster areas.
He reiterated that Washington does not intend to set up permanent bases in the Philippines amid recent decisions to strengthen military cooperation.
He said the 600 US troops in Mindanao are still there but will not be stationed in the country permanently.
"We have no plans for bases here… we are talking about ways, in which at the invitation of the Philippine government... we can work together to help support security needs," said Shapiro.
Asked if the US plan to strengthen maritime security of the Philippines is aimed to counter China's increased military buildup on the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea), he said, "Our goal in this dialogue is to help the Philippines with their defense needs as they identify them. It is best to work together in a number of different defense needs... and it is not designed to target any country… it is [aimed] to address the security requirement of the Philippines."
Shapiro maintained that, "the US has not taken a position on the claims [on the South China Sea], we believe it will not be resolved through the use of force. We will continue to press that point to all the parties, that's been the US policy under the Obama administration."