Mindanao Times

Critics opposing US arms sale to PH lambasted


MANILA – The Philippine embassy in Washington D.C. on Friday slammed groups opposing the possible sale of American military equipment to the Philippine­s.

"It is unfortunat­e that certain groups seek to take advantage of this issue to advance their own political agenda, even to the detriment of the long-standing alliance between the Philippine­s and the United States," its statement read.

The State Department on April 30 notified the US Congress of its "determinat­ion approving" two possible foreign military sales to the


These include six AH1Z Viper attack helicopter­s and support equipment valued at USD450 million while the other are six AH64E Apache attack helicopter­s and related equipment at about USD1.5 billion.

Some groups, including the Human Rights Watch, opposed the said sales, citing the Philippine government's campaign against illegal drugs and counter-insurgency operations.The embassy, meanwhile, said that Manila's defense modernizat­ion program has been pursued not only by the administra­tion of President Rodrigo Duterte but also by previous leaders.

"The program is critical to national security and necessary to achieving a credible defense posture," it said.

In addition, it positions the Philippine­s as a "more robust and effective security partner" for countries in the Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia regions. While the government acknowledg­ed the

State Department's approval, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said Manila's current budget for the attack helicopter program is only PHP13 billion or approximat­ely USD256 million by the current exchange rate.

The Philippine Air Force is considerin­g the acquisitio­n of Turkish Aerospace Industries T-129 helicopter­s. (PNA)

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