The Philippines is banking on its military alliance with the United States in monitoring North Korea’s planned rocket launch next month, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.
“I don’t think we have that capability but then with our alliance with the United States we will be provided the necessary information,” Gazmin told reporters on the sidelines of the Army’s 115th anniversary rites Thursday.
The government will monitor the path of the rocket, parts of which have been reported as possibly dropping into Philippine territory, he said.
“Siyempre mako-concern ka, kasi ‘yun ay safety ng ating mga tao, we should be sensitive to that so kailangan masabihan natin sila,” Gazmin said.
“We need the help of the United States to monitor the path because we don’t have that capability,” he said.
Earlier, Gazmin’s spokesman Peter Paul Galvez said the DND will ask “appropriate authorities” about the flight path to prevent a “possible disaster.”
The rocket launch, which North Korea says is only aimed at deploying a satellite, is projected to happen between April 12 and 16. Parts of the projectile is feared to drop in waters near Luzon Island.
Sharing technological advances such as those determining a target’s location is not new between the US and Philippine militaries, though the North Korea launch may be the first time for the allies to deal with a projectile.
On February 2, the Armed Forces of the Philippines claimed killing 15 Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf members in Sulu, during an airstrike where the US military provided “technological assistance.”
Gazmin admitted that the US’ unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly called as “drones,” are being used in “monitoring terrorists in the south.”
In 2010, the DND said the US was to provide software and other equipment to enhance local military planes’ capability in hitting targets, especially during operations in Mindanao.
Eduardo Batac, the department’s spokesman then, said the software and equipment were to be installed in some of the Air Force’s OV-10 bomber planes. (John Roson)
– end –