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Military Equipment Acquisitions under the Duterte Administration

The Philippine Navy's new Frigate. Photo courtesy of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).
The Philippine Navy’s new Frigate. Photo courtesy of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).

It is now time to start a new running blog of the acquisition of weapons and equipment for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) after the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte started signing contracts for them. This will be a continuation of my other blog about similar acquisitions by President Benigno Aquino Jr. or PNoy.[1]

’Blog Rules’
I will be following the same “House Rules” or “Blog Rules” from my previous blog about PNoy’s acquisitions, which is first is that I want the news to be confirmed by a MAJOR news organization or a reputable website before I consider it. “Major” meaning a registered news organization like “GMA7”, for example, or “ABS-CBN”, etc. Or websites like the “Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines”, etc.
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Why is the Philippines Poorer than Its Neighbors?

I thought this was too important to be just left on my main blog, thus I am reposting it here …

rhk111's Blogspot

Why is the Philippines poorer than its South East Asian (SEA) neighbors?” This is one question that I have been asking myself since I was in my teens. It is not an easy question to answer, but let me offer my opinion now on why I think this is so. First, let’s establish the fact that we ARE indeed poorer than our neighbors, and one way to do that would be to look at our Poverty Rate or the Percent of our Population Below the Poverty Line. Below is the data for Poverty Rate of various SEA countries including us taken from the excellent Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook website[1] which will be my main reference for most of the statistical data I will be using in this blog.
Comparison of the Poverty Rates of South East Asian Countries. Comparison of the Poverty Rates of South East Asian Countries.

As we can see in the…

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Military Equipment Acquisitions Under the PNoy Administration

(Revised October 28, 2016. See bottom of the page for the complete revision history)

Remington R4 Rifle markings of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Remington R4 Rifle markings of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It just occurred to me one day that we are in a unique position to DOCUMENT all of the important military purchases and donations under this Administration, hence the idea behind this blog. Besides, I am not optimistic that the next Administration will acquire as much for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), so might as well just enjoy what we have now.

’Blog Rules’
Just some “House Rules” or “Blog Rules” about the acquisitions I will be listing below, first is that I want the news to be confirmed by a MAJOR news organization or a reputable website before I consider it. “Major” meaning a registered news organization like “GMA7”, for example, or “ABS-CBN”, etc. Or websites like the “Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines”, etc.
Continue reading Military Equipment Acquisitions Under the PNoy Administration

The Jennifer Laude Case

There has been a significant slowdown in the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) recently, no new procurement, upgrade, etc. has been made in the last couple of months. This may have something to do with the Supreme Court’s (SC) ruling against the Development Assistance Program (DAP) [1] which made it harder for them to allocate funds around, or it maybe something else, or a combination of factors. At any rate, this will likely continue for a couple more months until they find a way to sort things out.

In the meantime, I decided to take a break from my Sea Denial ramblings and write something political and current, like the case of The Killing of Jennifer Laude which caused some negative publicity on the basing of US forces in the Philippines. If you are not familiar with the case, what happened was that a Transgender Woman was found dead in a hotel room and the primary suspect in the killing is an American Marine named John Scott Pemberton. [2]

Call it “destiny”, call it “bad luck”, call it “fate”, call it whatever, but the incident highlighted the dark side of having American servicemen on foreign soil at a critical time, before any new agreement could be finalized. That dark side are US servicemen committing crimes against the local people, and this issue was almost forgotten until the Laude murder happened. It reminded people again that US protection is not all roses, there are many such thorns that happened before, which was probably why Filipinos then were a bit ambivalent about seeing the American bases go away.
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A Call for More Defense-related Pictures on Open Content or Public Domain

While looking around for open content images for my blog, I just noticed that the availability of these types of pictures tend to be spotty, some topics have a lot while others only have a few. As a blogger, I am supposed to use Open Content (OC)[1] or Public Domain (PD)[2] pictures only for my blogs, which means images which can be freely reused or those with no royalty requirements.

This something which I am now religiously trying to follow on my sites, but it is not easy because of the unavailability of such images on certain topics. If you search for OC/PD pictures for the PF-16 BRP Ramon Alcaraz or for Pohang-class Corvettes, for example, you won’t find a lot, and those that are available are not of high quality.

Hence, I am using this opportunity to issue a call for people to share their defense-related pictures for OC/PD purposes. There are a couple of OC/PD repositories in the internet where you can upload your pictures, like Flickr[3], for example, which allows you to change and/or publicly declare the license of the picture you are uploading. However, the best one for me is Wikipedia Commons[4] as its servers are fast and uploading/search procedures are easy.
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Philippine Arms Procurement Summary (1950-2014)

Benigno Aquino Jr., the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines
Benigno Aquino Jr., the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines

All these military equipment bought thus far or are planning to be bought by President Benigno Aquino Jr. got me into thinking as to how his Administration compares with the other past Presidents of the Philippines in terms of military arms procurement, and it just so happens that an excellent tool to do the comparison is available in the form of the Arms Procurement Database of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).1

‘SIPRI Database’
SIPRI describes itself as “… an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.” This to me means that they are gathering these data in order to find ways to be able to push thru their agenda for arms control and disarmament. That’s not exactly very promising if you don’t favor total arms control or total disarmament, but nevertheless their database is the best available out there right now if you want to research about arms transfers per country. You won’t be able to find a database as comprehensive as what they have now that is available or open to the public.
Continue reading Philippine Arms Procurement Summary (1950-2014)

Blog Output Slowdown

Photo courtesy of Grist.org
Photo courtesy of Grist.org

I have been releasing a blog at an average of one per week the last couple of months, but I will be slowing down a bit from hereon to around a blog every 10 days, maybe even slower after that.

The reason is that first, the AFP Modernization is slowing down also, and I am running out of interesting stuff to write about. Second, I’ve covered a lot of ground already with over 50 blogs, so there may not be a lot left to discuss. Third, I need even more time to do other stuff than I have now, and these blogs are eating a bit too much of my time. The blogs are not easy to write, they involve a lot of thinking, research, more writing and re-writing … I apologize for the regular readers out there as it will mean less material for them to read on a regular basis, but I’m taking a bit of a break.

I may start blogging more frequently again if very interesting stuff comes up, but in the meantime just visit the site every now and then and take note of announcements of upcoming blogs on the Sidebar. I encourage everyone to follow my “Philippine Defense News” page on Facebook or on Twitter for more frequent updates (usually daily) about news related to Philippine defense. Thanks for reading my blogs, I highly appreciate it.