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PHL partners with two EU countries on defense

PHILIPPINE President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. held bilateral meetings with leaders of the Czech Republic and the Netherlands on the sidelines of the ASEAN-US Commemorative Summit in Brussels on Dec. 12-14.

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has sought support from the Czech Republic and the Netherlands to enhance the technological capacity of the Philippines’ defense sector, according to statements released by the press secretary’s office on Wednesday.

“It’s something that has been very helpful to the program of modernization that we are undergoing for defense forces in the Philippines, especially now that we… are trying to strengthen the capabilities of our coast guard,” Mr. Marcos said in a meeting with Czech Republic Prime Minister Petr Fiala on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-European Union (ASEAN-EU) Commemorative Summit in Brussels, Belgium.

“But what would be even more interesting is besides just the equipment, would be the transfer of technology from your country to mine so that you are able to produce (in our own country) some of the material that is now being provided by other countries and perhaps… make the Philippines a center for all that, the logistics,” he added.

Mr. Marcos noted that technology transfer is a vital aspect of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) modernization program, which was launched in 2013 through Republic Act No. 10349 or the Revised Armed Forces Modernization Act.

The law sets out a 15-year modernization program to beef up the AFP’s capability on counterterrorism, maritime domain security, and address internal threats.

NETHERLANDSThe Philippine leader also had a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, where they agreed to bolster maritime defense ties as well as expand collaboration in water management.

The Dutch leader noted that the Netherlands is hosting a conference on the role of artificial intelligence in the military domain in February next year, which aims to gather foreign ministers, defense ministers, and heads of states.

Mr. Marcos noted that cybersecurity is becoming increasingly more important for the Philippines’ armed forces, noting the prevalence of cyberattacks in the country’s military networks.

“The cybersecurity part of our military is growing everyday,” he said.

Mr. Rutte also invited Mr. Marcos to participate in a conferences on water management next year.

Amsterdam will be hosting a conference in March on water management and climate change adaptation, which is among the key priorities of the Marcos administration.

“We are two counties who run a risk or two with rising sea levels and climate change,” Mr. Rutte said.

Mr. Marcos, in response, said, “We are actually trying to decide whether or not to form a new agency just for water management… That seems to be right exactly within the area of concern of the Philippines.”

The Philippines is among the world’s most vulnerable to climate change. It is visited by an average of 20 typhoons every year, about five of which are destructive. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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