By Priam Nepomuceno
MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) thanked Israel for its ongoing support to the institution’s modernization program.
This came following the visit of a ranking Israeli military official to the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Wednesday.
“The AFP welcomed Israel’s continued support to the AFP’s modernization and capability upgrade during the courtesy visit of Brig. Gen. Efraim Defrin, Head of International Cooperation Division, IDF, on March 15 at the AFP General Headquarters,” said AFP public affairs office chief, Col. Jorry Baclor, in a statement.
Defrin met with AFP inspector general, Army Lt. Gen. William Gonzales, and Marine Brig. Gen. Noel Beleran, AFP deputy chief of staff for education, training and doctrine, and other ranking military officials in Camp Aguinaldo.
Gonzales extended the AFP’s appreciation of Israel’s support to the AFP Modernization Program. The AFP currently has 20 modernization projects with Israel, 14 of which have already been completed amounting to PHP19 billion.
These projects include artillery howitzers, armored vehicles, air defense surveillance and radar systems, multi-purpose attack craft, firepower upgrades, and force protection equipment.
The ongoing projects are light tanks, armored personnel carriers, ground-based air defense systems, and fast attack interdiction craft.
“Brig. Gen. Defrin acknowledged the similarities in the challenges and issues faced by the Philippines and Israel and raised the importance of working together and learning from each other,” Baclor said.
The Israeli military official noted that the IDF and the AFP could further enhance knowledge and expertise sharing through continued training and student exchanges.
“Following their meeting, Brig. Gen. Defrin gave a strategic overview of IDF’s defense doctrine and security challenges,” Baclor said.
As the basis for military cooperation, the AFP has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on logistics and defense industry cooperation with the IDF in 2010.
The MOU is focused on enhancing intelligence exchanges, logistics, education and training, counterterrorism, and cyber security. (PNA)