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DND says submarine procurement not a priority

The Department of National Defense (DND) on Wednesday clarified that the acquisition of submarines is not a priority of the government amid reports of offers from France.

In a statement, DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said France indeed expressed interest in selling submarines to the Philippines.

“However, there is no truth to the report that there is an offer to the Department for submarines in exchange for permission to explore Philippine waters," he said.

"We do have a 2016 Arrangement with France on defense cooperation, and in the course of the Department’s engagements with representatives from France, there was never a mention or discussion of such a proposal,” he added.

The Defense official added, “Agreements entered into by the Department shall always be in accordance with our Constitution and laws, and will always uphold our national interest."

Andolong said the department would prioritize the implementation of contracts signed during the previous administration considering the limited budget of the government.

“Although submarines are in our wish list for Horizon 3, the Department is prioritizing the implementation of contracts signed during the previous administration, cognizant of the limitations in the resources available to the government,” he said.

The DND said it would continue to push for the modernization of the AFP with the acquisition of multi-role and game-changing platforms, that can be used for internal security, territorial defense, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.—LDF, GMA News