THE Philippines plans to beef up its defense capabilities after China offered a $500-million loan to the country, which can be used to procure military equipment, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza has said.
Executives of Chinese military supplier Poly Technologies Inc. and parent company China Poly Group Corp. met President Rodrigo Duterte in Beijing Sunday afternoon at the sidelines of the two-day “Belt and Road” Forum.
The Philippine government was to sign on Monday a letter of intent to deal with the arms company owned by the Chinese government, Lorenzana told reporters.
Poly Technologies, one of China’s largest arm exporters, offers a “wide array of defense equipment,” he said.
“It’s a letter of intent to deal with them because they’re offering us a lot, a wide array of defense equipment and…an offer of a loan from the Chinese government to the tune of about $500 million,” he said.
Lorenzana could not say what kind of equipment would be purchased from Poly Technologies.
But the military’s wish list includes “airplanes, drones, fast boats.”
The Defense chief said Duterte had ordered him to first ask the army, air force and navy about the defense assets they needed.
“We are not going to choose for them. They are going to choose for themselves, what they need from the Chinese defense industry,” Lorenzana said.
The Defense chief clarified that the letter of intent was not binding and that the government could still tap other suppliers.