The arrival of the newest Naval ship of the Philippine Navy from South Korea has garnered controversies as officials from the Duterte administration and their supporters are claiming that it was a project of Pres. Duterte in his bid to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Harry Roque stated in a palace briefing, “The arrival of the country’s most advanced warship, delivered during this administration, is a testament to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s commitment to modernize our armed forces”.
(Is it that hard to swallow your ego and just credit the Aquino admin?)
However, BRP Jose Rizal, a navy frigate constructed by Hyundai Heavy Industries was a major project by the Aquino administration that started in 2015, the Aquino admin earmarked Php18 billion for two (2) frigates which these frigates were scheduled to be delivered between 2020-2021.
The Aquino administration initiated the AFP Modernization Program in 2012 and major defense acquisitions included the navy frigates from South Korea. The AFP Modernization Program was pushed through as China was aggressively expanding its claim in the West Philippine Sea with its bullying tactics, salami-slicing strategy and its political clout to disunite ASEAN-member states of having a united front against China.
The Philippines and China has long-standing disputes over the West Philippine Sea with China claiming all the sea territories that even overlaps territories from Vietnam, Indonesia, Brunei, and Malaysia.
However, China’s illusionary 9-dash line claim is an all-out lie created by the Communist Party of China without any historical nor legal evidence to back their claims. China was given a chance to prove this 9-dash line the Arbitration Court in Geneva when the Philippines filed a protest but China didn’t showed up nor sent a delegation to defend their claim which we could fairly say, China’s claim in the West Philippine Sea is non-existent.