The Armed Forces of the Philippines vowed stronger territorial defense and internal security operations next year, when it recieves additional assets and upgrades existing fighting equipment.

“We are both enhancing further our presence and continuously improving our Coast Watch system to suffice the security and monitoring requirements particularly in the West Philippine Sea,” AFP chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Oban Jr. said.

“We are already expecting deliverables late this year and the coming year,” he said.

Among those expected in 2012 is the upgrade of two of the Navy’s existing Coast Watch stations to complement maritime and interdiction operations in the West Philippine Sea.

The upgrade will come after the recently-acquired US Hamilton-class cutter, BRP Gregorio Del Pilar, starts its official mission.

“The Gregorio Del Pilar will be deployed to the West Philippine Sea once it is commissioned at the end of the month to augment our forces already deployed in the area,” Oban said.

This year, the Navy also expects to get a landing craft utility (LCU) vessel, three multi-purpose attack crafts, three Jacinto-class patrol vessels with upgraded weapons systems, and 40 troop carrier trucks.

The Air Force will get 20 upgraded units of MG520 helicopters, four combat utility helicopters, and an aerial recon camera by the end of the year before acquiring 10 more helicopters next year.

The Army, meanwhile, will get 62 audio/visual systems for civil military operations this year before getting brand new communications equipment, 335 portable rocket launchers, and 100 units of 81-millimiter mortars in 2012. (John Roson)

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