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Philippines Pushes for Self-Reliance in Defense

The Philippines is pushing for a more self-reliant defense posture in the face of increasing security threats from China.

The country’s lower house of Congress recently approved the proposed Philippine Self-Reliant Defense Posture Program, which would pave the way for boosted domestic production of military weapons and equipment.

It will also rationalize defense acquisition, further developing the nation’s defense capability.

“The underlying concept of self-reliance shall be manifested in the continued preference on local production of materiel, when feasible, for the country’s defense forces through the partnership between the military and civilian establishments,” the bill read.

Despite the emphasis on self-reliance, the bill clarified that imports will not be ruled out, especially for defense items that cannot be locally produced.

Dedicated Office

Under the bill, the Philippine government must create the Office of the Undersecretary for Defense Technology Research and Industry Development to oversee domestic production.

More specifically, it will conduct research and development, facilitate local defense industry promotion, and manage a database for analysis.

The dedicated office will also establish public-private partnerships and set up collaborations between domestic and foreign firms if needed.

Additionally, the bill mandates the military and the government “provide technical and financial assistance to civilian defense manufacturers.”

Recent Defense Imports

The Philippines has relied on foreign partners to deliver state-of-the-art equipment for its military.

In 2022, it acquired BrahMos cruise missiles from India worth 18.9 billion Philippine pesos ($334 million).

It also entered into a nine vessel acquisition deal with Israel, six of which have already been delivered.

Late last year, it purchased an advanced radar system from Japan to keep watch over the entire archipelago “with greater accuracy and efficiency.”

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