Marcos vows to continue military modernization

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 19) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Monday the administration would proceed with the upgrade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) amid internal and external threats.

"Rest assured to all the AFP and all the uniformed services that this administration remains committed to the modernization," Marcos said at the AFP's 87th anniversary.

"We will be partners towards your vision of a strong, credible, world-class armed force that is a source of national pride and the source of national security," he added.

Marcos did not detail his plans for modernization and only said military forces should have the capability to defend the country from any threat, especially its vast seas.

The cost to modernize the AFP is ₱2.2 trillion — it began in 2012. It will enter the third phase, or Horizon Three in 2023 and this will last until 2028.

The AFP plans to buy more multi-role fighter aircraft and medium tanks.

Above all else, Marcos said peace was the ultimate goal.

"My marching guidance has always remained constant: we commit to the cause of peace. The security and stability of the country remains the priority. I call on you to continue performing your duties as you have had for many, many years and competently so, so that our country can achieve peace and security, and sustain economic prosperity," he said.

CNN Philippines' Rex Remitio and Pia Garcia contributed to this report.