Tuesday, July 14, 2015

AFP Chief Lt. Gen Iriberri defends acquisition of force protection equipment over missile system

Gen. Hernando Iriberri assumes office as the 46th Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff (www.gov.ph)
CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City --The newly installed Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Lt. General Hernando Iriberri admitted the huge capability gap of Filipino soldiers. 

He said the increasing number of casualties among soldiers because of improvised explosive device used by enemies such as the rebels and terrorists is a pressing issue.   

 "It is really unfortunate to see a soldier in critical condition just because of an IED,  just because he has no body armor or helmet. I cannot give the details on how huge our capability gap is because these are classified information" said AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri.

The general also said he has given a counter-proposal to the Department of National Defense (DND) that instead of acquiring a Shore-Based Missile System (SBMS); force protection equipment such as rifles, body and armor for soldiers must be purchased first. 

The first phase of the revised AFP modernization program from 2013 to 2018  includes the proposal acquiring Shore-Based Missile System (SBMS) or Anti-Aircraft Missiles (AAM) from Israel amounting to 6.5 billion pesos. 

But Lt. Gen. Iriberri said reports on scrapping the said project just to give way to the acquisition of individual force protection equipment are erroneous. 

He stressed, however, that he has requested the project to be included instead to the second part of the AFP Modernization Program from 2018 to 2022 and give priority to the procurement of individual equipment for soldiers battling in the field. 

  "And I also want to clarify that the budget with the amount of 6.5 billion for the re-prioritization will be used for the acquisition of the individual equipment;  these will be used by our ground troops, regardless of their situation, regardless of their mission" said AFP Chief Iriberri.

The general also said gaining commission is not the reason for the re-prioritization of the projects. 

He also reiterated that his request underwent required processes and was cleared by officials of the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

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