US to boost Philippine defence with $144m aid

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - The United States will provide the Philippines at least US$144.66 million in defence-related assistance this year, according to Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario.

Speaking before the Manila Overseas Press Club at a Makati City hotel, Del Rosario noted on Wednesday night that the new US aid would be "an increase of $21.38 million from the previous year's appropriation."

The funding, he emphasised, would help the country "improve our national defense by building a minimum defense posture to protect our national sovereignty."

Citing the country's lack of resources, Del Rosario said "it behooves us to proactively seek the assistance and cooperation of our various international partners to achieve this minimum credible posture, which is a fundamental attribute of any sovereign country."

"Last year, we acquired a Hamilton-class cutter from the US, and we are expecting the delivery of a second cutter this year. Negotiations are likewise underway for more defense articles, including newer air assets for the Philippine Air Force," he also said.

Manila is also "updating its mutual defense partnership (with Washington) under the Philippines-US Mutual Defence Treaty in view of the changes in the regional and global security environment."

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