The Department of National Defense (DND) on Saturday said President Rodrigo Duterte's rejection of second-hand military equipment is part of the government's military modernization program.
"What the President said is in line with our ongoing modernization program, where we are acquiring brand new equipment to raise the overall operational capacity and capability of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines)," DND Public Affairs Service director Arsenio Andolong told GMA News Online.
"The President's statement shows his very strong support for our Defense establishment, and that he is making it clear that he wants only the best for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, especially as we continue our campaign against lawlessness, terrorism and violent extremism," Andolong added.
AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla had earlier declined to comment on Duterte's latest pronouncement.
"I have not seen the whole document and can not comment until I see it," Padilla said in a text message.
Duterte said on Friday that his administration will no longer accept second-hand military equipment from other nations, including the United States.
"During my time, wala na akong secondhand [na] mga barko-barko. It has to be brand new. Hindi na ako tatanggap ng mga equipment ng military na secondhand," Duterte told soldiers of the 102nd Infantry Brigade in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.
"Iyong ibinibigay ng Amerikano, ayaw ko na 'yan. Even I have to spend double the money," he added.
Duterte said he would source the brand-new firearms from two countries which he did not identify, although he has been exerting efforts to seek closer ties with Russia and China.
"You have the best equipment, ‘yung – ang sources natin sa baril ninyo is just two nations. I will not mention the names," he said.
He also expressed confidence that government forces can crush terrorism in the country, even if it takes the military more time and more lives. —ALG, GMA News