The Armed Forces of the Philippines is getting another P35 billion in modernization funds under the proposed P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said on Sunday.
“The sum is P8 billion more than the program’s P27-billion allocation this year, and we expect the bulk of the fresh funding to be spent on new naval assets for heightened national security missions, considering our lingering territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea,” Pimentel said.
“We are counting on Camp Aguinaldo to sign the contracts for the Philippine Navy’s acquisition of six 83-meter offshore patrols vessels (OPVs) from Australia before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term,” he added.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza earlier said the Australian global shipbuilder and defense contractor Austal Ltd. is at the forefront of the Navy’s procurement program for the OPVs at an aggregate cost of P22 billion.
Pimentel, strategic intelligence committee chairperson, said “we expect the highly agile OPVs to serve as the Navy’s remote workhorses.”
“We want Austal to build the OPVs in its shipyard in Balamban, Cebu because it will mean more jobs for Filipinos,” he said.