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Should PH forge ahead with ambitious $35B military modernization program?

First word

FIRST, an explanation of terms from the field of political science and international relations.

The goals of foreign and defense policies vary from nation to nation, but these usually focus on three factors. Nations develop foreign and defense policies 1) to preserve their national security; 2) promote their economic interest; and 3) to advance their influence over world affairs so as to make them predictable for their own interests.

Increasingly, over the past decades, the Philippines has directed much attention to the development and modernization of its foreign and defense policies in order to bring itself up to date with major political, technological and economic developments in the 21st century.

It has embraced major changes in the post-Cold War era, following the collapse of international communism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It in turn has also had to adjust to the rise of the People's Republic of China as a third global power, next to the United States and Russia.

The emergence of China as a major force in Asia has enormous implications for regional affairs, especially for its neighbors in Southeast Asia, which jointly claim with it strategic portions of the vital waterway, the East and South China Seas.

Concern for national security and defense policy has naturally engendered in the Philippines keen interest in the modernization of the nation's military and its defense capability, a subject which has been on the plate of every presidential administration since the time of the first President Marcos, Ferdinand E. Marcos, who served as president from 1966 to 1986. But which made little progress from lack of resources.


Today, no doubt primarily because of the country's troubled relationship with China over their conflicting claims in the South China Sea (or the West Philippine Sea, as Filipinos prefer to call its exclusive economic zone in the disputed waters), there is plenty of focus and attention on the progress of the nation's ambitious 10-yeear modernization plan for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Most Filipinos will be astounded to learn that the Military Modernization Plan will cost all in all $35