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Phl makes formal request for Chinese military equipment

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has formalized its request for precision-guided munitions (PGM), fast boats and drones from China as part of the assistance offered by Beijing to the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs and terrorism, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said yesterday.

Lorenzana said he has submitted the letter to Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua regarding the $14-million arms package that China pledged to the government.

“We have formalized that because China is giving us $14 million… we asked for many things such as boats and drones,” he said when asked if Duterte had requested for the PGMs from Beijing. “This is (in the form of) assistance.”

The PGM is intended to precisely hit a target to minimize collateral damage. 

Lorenzana noted that a PGM is less sophisticated than a missile, which could carry a conventional or nuclear explosive.

The defense chief added that he submitted the military’s wish list to the Chinese ambassador about three weeks ago.

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“They will look at the list, and see if they can provide them… Once they have okayed it, then we will proceed (to China) and look at them,” Lorenzana said.

He affirmed Duterte’s pronouncements last week that he had sounded off to China to help the Philippines with the acquisition of precision-guided arms.  

“And I have also asked the Armed Forces to use all available assets and all the weaponry that’s at our disposal. And I have an urgent message to China to help us if they have precision-guided arms, they can give us a loan,” Duterte said.

He revealed the information as he discussed the threat of Islamic groups in Mindanao.

While he lambasted the United States for interfering in local affairs, Duterte asserted his promise to Beijing about his decision to defer bringing up the issue of the dispute in West Philippine Sea.

Last weekend, Duterte also said that he would tap Russia for the procurement of modern equipment to be used in operations against terrorists in Mindanao.

The Philippines’ bilateral relations with China strengthened after Duterte made a state visit to Beijing and set aside for the meantime the United Nations arbitration ruling in the South China Sea dispute.

After the warming of relations between the two countries, China also offered a $500-million long-term soft loan for other military equipment. This is apart from the $14-million grant.

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