PH military gets 114 armored vehicles from US

MANILA, Philippines –  A total of 77 units of M113A2 Armed Personnel Carriers (APCs) from the US arrived in Subic Wednesday evening, December 9, and another 37 units are scheduled to arrive next week in time for the transfer of all 114 armored vehicles to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) later in the month, the US embassy in Manila announced in a statement on Thursday, December 10.

The transfer of the large number of APCs will boost the armor capabilities of the Philippine military, which continues to fight communist insurgents and terrorists. The light tracked vehicles will provide secure transport to troops who will be inserted into combat zones.

"The EDA (Excess Defense Article) Program grants excess U.S. military equipment from the U.S., without cost, to qualified allied countries. The transfer is a result of a formal request made by the AFP to assist in their defense modernization efforts," said the US embassy.

The transfer of the armored vehicles has long been approved by the US government but the Philippine defense department had to source the funds to be able to transport them to the Philippines, Rappler learned.

The Philippine military is battling Asia's longest-running insurgency. It has given itself until 2016 to wipe out the guerrillas.

The Aquino government's peace agreement with the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front is also in limbo, raising fears of continuing conflict in Muslim-dominated provinces in Mindanao. – with reports from Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com