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DND: Planned submarine purchase from S. Korea, Russia not yet final

The Department of National Defense (DND) on Friday said it will consider any and all offers, and not just from South Korea and Russia, when it comes to the purchase of submarines for the Philippine Navy.

In a statement, the DND clarified the acquisition of submarines from South Korea or Russia, as Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had announced in June, was not yet final.

"While our acquisition of submarines for the Philippine Navy is still under study and nothing is final at this point, we emphasize that the Defense Department will procure equipment that is most advantageous for the Armed Forces of the Philippines through our AFP Modernization Program," the statement read.

The DND added that it plans to acquire equipment "from any country as long as the procurement follows the proper process as provided for under Philippine laws, and the equipment meets the requirements of its end users."

Particularly, on the planned submarine purchase, the defense department said it will consider "any and all offers."

The statement came a day after Randall Schriver, US assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, urged the Philippine government to "think carefully" about the planned purchase of Russian hardware.

When he asked about the Philippine government's considering submarines from Russia on Thursday, the official said the United States can be a "better partner."

"If they would have proceed with purchasing major Russian equipment, I don't think that's a helpful thing to the alliance and ultimately I think we can be a better partner than the Russians can be to the Philippine people," he added.

On Friday, the DND said it was determined to honor all of the country's alliances and international partnerships through the conduct of international defense and security engagements. — Margaret Claire Layug/MDM, GMA News