MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) is planning to acquire 100 armored personnel carriers (APC)s and dozens of artillery equipment from Italy in support of the military’s capability upgrade program.
Documents obtained by The STAR showed that the Italian government might donate 100 units of operational M113 APCs and 25 units of operational FH70 155 mm howitzers.
The possible donations are in connection with the procurement of other equipment that may become part of what the DND called the “Italian package.”
The DND is currently negotiating with Italy for the procurement of Maestrale-class ships, medium-lift fixed wing aircraft (C27J-Spartan), special mission aircraft and three naval helicopters.
If the procurement pushes through, the 100 APCs and 25 long-range cannons may be included in the package.
“In connection with the acquisition of the aforementioned equipment (ships, aircraft, helicopters) the Italian government will donate 100 units operational M113 armored personnel carriers and 25 units operational FH70 155 mm howitzers,” the DND document read.
The APCs and artilleries are expected to enhance the military’s security operations.
The DND said the Italian defense ministry has designated a liaison officer to the Philippines to handle the acquisitions and represent the Italian government in the discussions with suppliers.
The department said it is also negotiating with the supplier regarding the specifications of the equipment.
“The imprimatur to contract with them is directly from the Italian government,” it said.
The Philippines is resorting to government-to-government transactions to fast-track the acquisition of key defense equipment.
Earlier, DND Undersecretary Fernando Manalo told The STAR the negotiation for the acquisition of the two Maestrale-class warships from Italy may be completed by yearend.
Last August, the DND announced plans to acquire the Maestrale-class ships from Italy to boost the country’s maritime security capability.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin had said the two missile-firing warships would be acquired from the Italian Navy and cost about P11.7 billion.
The ships have anti-aircraft, anti-ship and anti-submarine capabilities. They also have missile systems and modern radars.