Philippine Government Pushing for Defense Modernization

February 2023

In 2023, the Philippine government allocated a total of PHP 45 billion (USD 814.5 million) for the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (AFPMP), which is PHP 6 billion (USD 108.6 million) more than the amount allocated in 2022.

This includes PHP 27.5 billion (USD 497.8 million) in programmed allocations and PHP 17.5 billion (USD 316.8 million) in unprogrammed allocations. The Department of Budget and Management initially sought only PHP 40 billion for the AFPMP. This increased funding is meant to counter the presence of Chinese vessels around Pag-asa Island in the disputed Spratly archipelago, as well as to finance House Bill (HB) No. 1782, which seeks to appropriate PHP 5 billion for the installation of new naval forward operating bases.

The Philippines is also focused on the continued modernization of the assets and manpower of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will push for the PCG’s acquisition of assets and equipment as well as the inclusion of its officers in world-class educational programs. The personnel complement of the Coast Guard has grown exponentially – from only around 7,000 several years ago to over 26,000 today.

The PCG is recognized as the third armed uniformed service of the country attached to the Philippines’ Department of Transportation, tasked primarily with enforcing laws within Philippine waters, conducting maritime security operations, safeguarding life and property at sea, and protecting marine environment and resources. It currently maintains a presence throughout the archipelago, with thirteen Coast Guard Districts, fifty-four CG Stations and over one hundred ninety Coast Guard Sub-Stations, from Basco, Batanes to Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.

(Sources: Philippine News Agency; Military Leak)

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