Anti-Submarine Helicopter
Anti-Submarine Helicopter

Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin signed the 5.36-billion-peso (116-million-dollar) contract on Tuesday, the department said in a statement.

Anti-Submarine Helicopter
Anti-Submarine Helicopter

“With the eventual availability and utilization of these new air assets, our navy can conduct naval operations with a high degree of confidence and reliability,” Gazmin said during the contract signing.

The Philippines has been locked in a row with China over disputed territories in the South China Sea, nearly the entirety of which Beijing claims for itself.

Manila filed arbitration questioning China’s claim before a United Nations tribunal that has claimed jurisdiction over the case, but Beijing has refused to participate in the proceedings.

President Benigno Aquino said the dispute has forced the Philippines to accelerate the modernization of its armed forces to be able to protect the country’s coastline and territories.

“We are a natural transit point into Pacific and we are now studying whether or not we do need a submarine force,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

Apart from China and the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam also have overlapping claims to the South China Sea, a key shipping lane believed to be rich in mineral and marine resources.

Surce: GNA

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