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Philippines to buy two Maestrale frigates from Italy

Published on Jul 3, 2013 6:13 PM

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.

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