₱5B released for missile system, combat choppers

MANILA —The Philippines’ budget department has released initial funding worth nearly P5 billion for the armed forces’ planned acquisition of shore-based anti-ship missile system and combat utility helicopters.

Two special allotment release orders (SARO), worth P1.3 billion and P1.535 billion, were issued by the Department of Budget Management (DBM) last Dec. 27 for the shore-based anti-ship missile system for the Philippine Navy.

The SARO allows the Department of National Defence to finalize the contract.

A senior security official told Inquirer.net that a notice of award (NOA), a written confirmation of the grant of a contract to a successful project proponent, is currently “on process” for the missile system.

The Philippines was expected to acquire India’s BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles under a government-to-government deal.

The Philippines and India have signed an “implementing agreement” early this year for the potential procurement of BrahMos missile and other Indian defence equipment.

The missile system, which can be used for coastal defence and ground attack, would boost Philippine military firepower in the face of threats to its maritime territory, coming mainly from Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.

A SARO worth P1.6 billion was also issued by the DBM last Dec. 27 to cover the initial funding for combat utility helicopters for the Philippine Air Force.

Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had announced that the DBM has approved the funding for additional 32 Black Hawk combat utility helicopters worth P32 billion and six offshore patrol vessels for the Philippine Navy worth P30 billion.

On Tuesday (Dec. 28), Lorenzana signed a P28 billion contract with South Korea’s Heavy Hyundai Industries for two corvettes for the Philippine Navy.