President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to upgrade the capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) using funds from the United States.
Duterte said he will not allow soldiers to face the country’s enemies at a disadvantage.
“[I will order you to fight] only when we are ready and have acquired equipment…and when we are on the high ground with weapons, the assets, we will fight,” the President said when he visited Camp Peralta in Capiz on Friday
“We have to fight terrorism, let’s prepare for that. Two to three years from now, the ISIS, the Abu Sayyaf, we have to deal with it. We have to be prepared. We need to fight accurately, we will go there and fight but we will need equipment so we can have the edge,” he added.
Duterte said the administration will use the $32 million aid given by the US to purchase equipment for the military.
“We will acquire so many things. When US Secretary of State John Kerry came here, he left me with $32 million. You may use it. I will divide it between you and the police,” he said.
Last month, Duterte and Kerry met in Malacañang to discuss national security issues.
According to presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, the US committed the aid to be used in “training and services” of the military.
On Tuesday, the President promised to release about P500 million for the purchase of state-of-the-art military equipment and construction of a new building for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Medical Center.
In Capiz, Duterte also promised to send injured soldiers to school.
“I’ll take care of them. All soldiers who are on wheel chairs, I’ll send you to school. Learn English, voice and diction and improve on your grammar. I will find work for you in call centers,” he said.
“I will not abandon you,” the President added as he reiterated his commitment to provide assistance, particularly free education, to all soldiers’ children.
He said the children of soldiers injured in battle will also get scholarship grants.