Philippines to buy two Maestrale frigates from Italy
MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines is set to buy two Maestrale-class frigates from Italy, a defence official said on Wednesday, as the Asian nation races to upgrade its military amid mounting territorial disputes with China.
The frigates, along with 12 FA-50 fighter aircraft, are the most significant items on the government's 75-billion-peso (S$2.2 billion) military modernisation budget over the next five years, Defence Undersecretary Fernando Manalo said.
"We are modernising not because we want to go to war with China," he told a news conference.
He said the government had a sworn obligation to defend the West Philippine Sea, using the government's preferred term for Philippine-claimed areas in the South China Sea.