President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the country’s defense officials to purchase military equipment in China and Russia during his speech to the Philippine Air Force at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

“I would like to ask Defense Secretary Lorenzana to, samahan kayo – the technical people. Pumunta kayo ng Russia at pumunta kayo ng China at tingnan ninyo kung ano ang pinakamabuti,” said Duterte on Tuesday, September 13.

(I would like to ask Defense Secretary Lorenzana and in the company of the technical people. Go to Russia and China and see which is the best.)

In support of the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), he proposed to buy weapons, armaments, and not F-16 jets (fighter jets), which were first offered by the United States in the Philippines. Instead, he plans to buy “propeller-driven planes” which can be used for internal security threats such as the ongoing terrorism in Mindanao.

“You will start your modernization further with me. Ibigay ko sa lahat sa inyo ‘yung kailangan ninyo para talunin ‘yung kalaban (I will give you everything you need to beat the enemy),” he said.

However, Duterte clarifies that this will be a government-to-government transactions on military equipment, with ‘no strings attached.’

“We can buy the arms where they are cheap and where there are no strings attached and it is transparent,” the President said.

Despite the ongoing territorial dispute between China and the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea, Duterte agrees to make deals with China as they agreed to provide the “softest” loan, payable in 2025.

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