Tag Archive: Fernando Manalo


The Philippines is interested in acquiring P3 Orion surveillance planes from Japan, the Department of National Defense said Thursday.

Peter Paul Galvez, DND spokesman, confirmed the department’s intent after reports indicated that the country may acquire at least four P3s from Japan by yearend.

“Tinitingnan if it will become an excess defense article. When it becomes an excess defense article, then we can get it at a very low price,” Galvez told reporters.

Galvez, however, could not say how many P3s are being considered for acquisition.

Japan’s navy is currently using P3 Orions in a joint training with Philippine Navy sailors in waters off Palawan, near the disputed West Philippine Sea.

Fernando Manalo, defense undersecretary for modernization, said the plan to acquire P3s is “separate” from the DND project to buy two long-range patrol aircraft (LRPA).

Manalo made the remark when asked on reports that the acquisition of P3s has been substituted for the LRPA project, which is currently suspended because President Aquino has yet to approve parts of the AFP Modernization Program.

The DND plans to buy two long-range patrol aircraft for the Air Force for P5.97 billion. (John Roson)

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The Philippines’ first lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) jet successfully completed its first flight in South Korea, aircraft maker Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) announced Wednesday.

The “FA-50PH” made its maiden flight on June 19, after the Philippines signed a contract to buy 12 units in March 2014, KAI said in its Facebook page.

“We will our best to deliver initial two aircraft by the end of this year,” the company said.

Fernando Manalo, defense undersecretary for modernization, said KAI may deliver two of the jets by the third quarter of 2015.

“It will be possible for the FA-50s to feature in the Armed Forces’ 80th anniversary,” he said in an interview during the military’s 79th anniversary last December.

Colonel Enrico Canaya, Air Force spokesman, called the first jet’s maiden flight a “positive development.”

“It’s a good sign that we are about to become a more modern PAF soon,” Canaya said in a text message to reporters.

The government signed a contract to buy 12 brand-new FA-50s for P18.9 billion in March 2014, amid China’s buildup in the West Philipppine Sea (South China Sea).

Three Air Force pilots are presently in South Korea to train in operating the FA-50s.

The pilots were chosen for the jet project after registering more than a thousand hours flying Marchetti S-211 planes, Colonel Miguel Ernesto Okol, director for operations of the Air Force’s Air Defense Wing, told reporters in December.

The Philippines’ air defense was reduced to the S-211s when the country retired its last seven F5 fighter jets in 2005, after the latter had served for 40 years.

The S-211s were originally designed as trainers and secondary attack planes, but were refitted with avionics equipment and machine guns in recent years to take on air defense.

KAI’s FA-50 jets rake the sky with speeds of up to 1.5 times the speed of sound, compared to the S-211s that fly at a maximum 667 kilometers per hour.

It can be fitted with missiles like the AIM-9 “Sidewinder” air-to-air and heat-seeking missile, aside from light automatic cannons.

The FA-50 will act as the country’s interim fighter until the Philippines gets enough experience of operating fast jets and eventually acquire “multi-role fighters.” (John Roson)

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The Philippines’ acquisition of fighter jets for its air force continues to advance but the procurement of essential air surveillance radars cannot commence because the government has yet to approve it, a defense official said Wednesday.

Fernando Manalo, defense undersecretary for finance, munitions, and materiel, said construction of the 12 FA-50 fighter jets being bought from South Korea are now in “different stages of completion.”

“I think it is fair to say that the construction is within the target milestone. Baka nga mapaaga pa ang delivery ng dalawa,” Manalo said in a text message.

South Korean manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) may deliver two of the jets as early as the third quarter of 2015, Manalo said in an interview on December 18.

Manalo, however, said Wednesday that the project to buy aerial surveillance radars that are much needed in deploying fighter jets has not yet started because the government has not yet approved the AFP Modernization Program.

The Department of National Defense had announced plans to buy three air surveillance radars for P2.68 billion.

Israel Aerospace Industries is reportedly being eyed as the supplier of the radars, but Manalo declined to reveal the prospective contractor until a notice of award is issued.

“It should follow a process. First is the approval of the AFP Modernization Program. Without the approval, we cannot proceed with the procurement,” he said, when asked when the contract is expected to be awarded.

Having fighter jets on hand without radars telling them where to go could prove dangerous for the country’s just-recovering military prowess, especially in the face of China’s continuous force buildup in the disputed Spratly Islands.

In a recent interview with reporters, Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang said China’s reclamation on one feature at the Spratly Islands is “about 50 percent complete” and Beijing was setting up what looks like an air field.

The Philippines currently has one air surveillance radar left at the Wallace Air Station in La Union province which defense officials admit has a “very limited” scope.

Recently, the Air Force admitted to relying on the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines’ radar when it enforced a 3-nautical mile “no-fly zone” during Pope Francis’ visit from January 15 to 19.

“Fighter jets will not be effective without radar systems,” Manalo, a former Air Force official, said when asked how important the radars are when using fighter jets.

“Radars are early detection instruments to aid fighters where to intercept unidentified air traffic,” Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya explained.

The modernization program is still awaiting the approval of President Benigno Aquino III after it was submitted to MalacaƱang last February 2013 for review.

Under the revised Armed Forces modernization law, the President, upon recommendation of the defense and budget secretaries, shall submit the upgrade program to Congress within 60 days since the law took effect.

Manalo clarified that the pending approval will not affect the fighter jet acquisition, which had been approved separately. (John Roson)

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The Philippines may spend more than P90 billion (US$1.995 billion) for the second phase of modernizing its military in the six years after 2017, defense officials said Wednesday.

“Mayroon nang estimate… It’s much higher than P90 billion,” defense undersecretary for finance, munitions, and materiel Fernando Manalo said.

Manalo made the remark in a press briefing to present the status of modernization projects under what the defense department calls the “first horizon.”

The first horizon effectively started 2014 and will end on 2017.

Under this phase, the government is spending P90.858 billion to buy warships, fighter jets, helicopters, an air defense radar system, other various equipment, and will upgrade existing bases.

Many of these projects are already being implemented and the government shows capacity to pay, so the “second horizon” can already be implemented by 2017, Manalo said.

The second horizon is slated to be implemented until 2023 while the third horizon will run from 2024 to 2028.

Manalo declined to specify what types of equipment will be acquired under the second horizon, but said these will mostly be for disaster response and protecting territories in the disputed West Philippine (South China) Sea.

“It is sufficient [to say] we are heavy on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and protecting our interest in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Defense department spokesman Peter Paul Galvez said incidents in the West Philippine Sea were “much considered” for the Armed Forces’ modernization.

Manalo hinted that more fighter jets may be bought under the second horizon, saying that the current 12 being bought from South Korea is “way way below than what is needed by the Air Force.”

Defense assistant secretary for acquisitions, installations, and logistics Patrick Velez, for his part, said the Navy may already have five to six frigates at end of the third horizon.

“Where we are right now, we are in the first stages but enough to address some concerns of the Armed Forces… We are moving on from this capability towards the full capability of the AFP to provide for credible deterrence,” Velez said. (John Roson)

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An FA-50 fighter jet. (photo grabbed from KAI website http://www.koreaaero.com/)

An FA-50 fighter jet. (photo grabbed from KAI website http://www.koreaaero.com/)

The Philippines may start getting fighter jets in 2015 under a deal being negotiated with South Korean aircraft maker Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI), Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Thursday.

Deliveries of the FA-50 lead-in fighter jets are expected to start “June 2015,” Gazmin said in a text message.

Gazmin made the remark after saying that the defense department has already recommended measures on how to resolve issues on the P18.9-billion project.

“We recommended the approval of the downpayment and progress billing,” Gazmin said.

Earlier this month, Undersecretary for modernization Fernando Manalo said KAI is asking for a 52 percent downpayment but the department can only pay 15 percent under the law.

Another key issue is the “turnaround time,” or the period required for the supplier to deliver spare parts under warranty. The department requires the supplier to deliver spare parts within 30 to 45 days, while KAI wants a 180-day period.

The DND recommended that KAI be allowed a period of 60 days, Gazmin said.

Recommendations on the project have been sent to the Office of the President, he added.

“The FA-50 project is ongoing. There are just terms that require prior approval of the President,” Manalo said in a separate text message.

The government and KAI began negotiations early this year on the former’s plan to buy 12 FA-50 fighter jets.

The country retired its last seven F5 fighter jets in 2005, after being in service for 40 years.

The absence of fighter jets and other modern equipment for almost a decade now has left the country’s far-flung territories – like the Spratly Islands off Palawan and Scarborough Shoal off Zambales – virtually “open” to intrusions by other countries, especially muscle-flexing China. (John Roson)

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An air defense missile. (photo grabbed from SAAB Group website (www.saabgroup.com)

A BAMSE air defense missile. (photo grabbed from SAAB Group website http://www.saabgroup.com)

The Philippines plans to buy a shore-based missile system under the revised program to modernize its Armed Forces, defense officials said Monday.

A sum of P6.5 billion was allotted for the system, which will be given to the Army, Patrick Velez, vice chairman of the defense department’s bids and awards committee, said in a briefing.

The acquisition, still in the planning stage, will be carried out through “limited source bidding,” he said.

Limited source bidding is a process where certain companies are invited to submit bids for a project.

Undersecretary for acquisition Fernando Manalo, in the same briefing,

A surface-to-surface missile. (photo grabbed from SAAB Group website www.saabgroup.com)

A surface-to-surface missile. (photo grabbed from SAAB Group website http://www.saabgroup.com)

said the department could not reveal other details of the project, especially where the missile system will be placed.

Under the revised modernization program, the Army will also be given 744 units of light rocket launchers worth P408 million. This acquisition is now in the contracting stage, Velez said.

For the Air Force, three air surveillance radars are being procured for P2.68 billion. These will be placed in different sites, which will be developed at a total cost of P825.5 million.

Two long-range patrol aircraft worth P5.976 million are also being acquired for the Air Force.

Bases in Batangas, Palawan, and Zamboanga will be developed at a cost of P187.43 million to support those aircraft.

The government had announced that it will buy 12 lead-in fighter jets for the Air Force. Four lots of munition for the jets are being procured at a total cost of P4.4 billion. (John Roson)

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An FA-50 fighter jet. (photo grabbed from KAI website http://www.koreaaero.com/)

An FA-50 fighter jet. (photo grabbed from KAI website http://www.koreaaero.com/)

The Philippines and South Korean aircraft maker Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI) have disagreements over plans to buy fighter jets, hindering the acquisition, a defense official said.

The two sides are still “trying to hurdle major issues” in the P18.9-billion project, Undersecretary for acquisition Fernando Manalo said in a briefing.

KAI is asking for a 52 percent initial payment but the defense department can only pay 15 percent under the law, Manalo said.

The department will ask President Benigno Aquino III if it can accept KAI’s terms, he said.

Another key issue is the “turnaround time,” or the period required for the supplier to deliver spare parts under warranty, Manalo said.

The department requires the supplier to deliver spare parts within 30 to 45 days, while KAI wants a 180-day period, he said.

Manalo said the DND aims to determine by yearend if it will push through with the acquisition from KAI.

“We are already preparing our firm position and then we are going to submit it to KAI for them to determine whether that is acceptable,” he said.

The country has long been in need of fighter jet capability, which takes at least five years to develop, Manalo said.

The Philippines and KAI began negotiations early this year on the plan to buy 12 FA-50 fighter jets.

The government aims to have some of the jets delivered before President Aquino’s term ends in 2016. (John Roson)

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The Department of National Defense plans to spend some P1.264 billion in acquiring “refurbished” UH-1 helicopters for the Air Force.

The sum will be used to acquire 13 units of UH-1 and eight units of upgraded UH-1 with the corresponding “integrated logistics support” package, the DND said in a bid announcement on its website.

“The guiding principles for this project shall be based on affordability and sustainability while conforming to the requirements of our Air Force in furtherance of accomplishing its mission,” defense undersecretary for finance, munitions, installations, and materiel Fernando Manalo said in the announcement.

Manalo, who chairs the special bids and awards committee overseeing the project, said they will hold a pre-bid conference on Nov. 6.

Companies interested in the project may submit their bids until Nov. 20 and are expected to deliver the goods 45 days from opening the contract, he said.

The UH-1, developed by Bell helicopter in 1952, first flew in 1956 and was mass-produced in the 60s.

While many of the 16,000 units rolled out saw action in the Vietnam War and are now on display, some are still being used in operations around the world. (John Roson)

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A Maestrale-class frigate (photo grabbed from Marina Militare [Italian Navy] website http://www.marina.difesa.it)

The Philippines is looking at buying frigates from Italy, jet fighters from South Korea, and attack helicopters from Eurocopter, defense officials said today.

Two Maestrale-class frigates used by the Italian Navy have been proposed for acquisition to President Benigno Aquino, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said in a press forum.

The two ships, which cost a total of P11.7 billion, will come armed with anti-air, anti-submarine, and surface-to-surface missiles, Gazmin said.

“They will be our most potent naval assets. They will help a lot in giving us a good defense posture,” he said, adding the ships may be delivered by November next year if the project is approved soon.

T-50 jets conducting maneuvers (photo grabbed from Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. website: http://www.koreaaero.com)

The department has also proposed to the President to consider acquiring 12 T-50 lead-in fighter jets from South Korea, Fernando Manalo, defense undersecretary for finance, munitions, installations and materiel, said in the same press forum.

“The T-50 is the most advantageous considering the situation in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Once the project is completed, the country will immediately get two jets to train pilots, Gazmin said.

Meanwhile, Manalo said negotiation is ongoing to acquire 10 attack helicopters worth P3.2 billion from Eurocopter in France.

Two to four of these helicopters can be delivered within the year if the contract is signed before the end of the month, he said. (John Roson)

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The Department of National Defense is seeking P75 billion in the next five years to build the military’s territorial defense capability, a defense official said.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin recommended the amount to President Benigno Aquino last week and has made a similar proposal to both Houses of Congress, Undersecretary for finance, munitions, installations and materiel Fernando Manalo said in a press briefing.

The amount is an adjusted portion of the P50 billion that was allocated for the Armed Forces’ modernization in 1995 but was not all released, he said.

The proposal, which is sponsored by Senators Panfilo Lacson, Antonio Trillanes, Gregorio Honasan, and Ralph Recto, is now on its second reading at the Upper House, he said.

If approved, the Department of National Defense will ask the Department of Budget and Management for a “multi-year obligation authority” that will allow it to recieve P15 billion every year starting 2013.

Among the equipment to be bought with the amount are lead-in fighter trainer jets, close-air support planes, long range patrol aircraft, medium lift planes, and radars, Manalo said.

“We want the capability to monitor maritime and aerospace domains,” he said. (John Roson)

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