The online news portal of TV5
MANILA -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) welcomed the pronouncement of the United States military that it would equip the country with powerful land-based radars amid territorial disputes with China.
AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos said that although the radar system was still in its initial stages of planning, it was "very timely" as the military beefs up its external defense, particularly in maritime surveillance and security.
"It also comes very timely when our Internal Peace and Security Plan 'Bayanihan' is already gaining headway in defense capability and as it slowly transitions from internal security operations to territorial defense," Burgos told reporters.
An Agence France Presse report quoted Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Catherine Wilkinson as saying that the US is planning to provide land-based radars to the country, which will form part of a watch center that will track ships off the country's coastline.
The pronouncement came after President Benigno Aquino III met with US President Barack Obama.
But Burgos said that the coast watch system will be useful even without territorial disputes at the West Philippine Sea.
"This effort will not only help us prevent foreign intrusion but will also aid us in addressing transnational crimes like poaching, human trafficking, piracy and drug trafficking from proliferating," he said.
The AFP has already acquired several equipment such as Landing Craft Utility, two Coast Watch Systems, 105 units of 20-watt Vehicular Configuration Radio, three lots of Night Fighting System (NFS), and an aerial camera as part of its external defense.