New Market Research Report: Philippines Defence & Security Report Q2 2013

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Fri May 24 2013

BMI’s Philippines Defence & Security Report Q2 2013 examines the country’s strategic position in the Asia Pacific region and the wider world. It provides an overview of the contemporary geopolitical challenges facing the country and the challenges it may face in the future.

The report examines the trends occurring in the country’s current and future defence procurement and the order of battle across its armed forces. Its general conclusion is that tensions between the Philippines and China have reached a serious level, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – which is deeply conflicted over how to handle China – will not be able to help the Philippines much as it looks to protect its interests against what it regards as Chinese aggression.

Full Report Details at

The Philippines has now turned to the UN to try secure international backing in its territorial struggle against China. However, its decision in January to refer the dispute to arbitration under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was angrily rejected by China, which will not participate in any upcoming tribunal. In doing so, China may be acting illegally – as a signatory to UNCLOS it has in theory committed itself to the arbitration process, even if it does not like the nature of the proceedings which are brought. In any case, even if a tribunal is convened and finds in the Philippines’ favour, it is unlikely to alter the reality on the ground – which is that China continues to claim and to control Scarborough Shoal, as well as other contested zones.

As a result of the security threat from China, the modernisation of the long-neglected Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has become a major political priority for Manila. As well as increasing the 2013 defence budget, the president signed into law a military modernisation act in early 2013, which will provide U$1.85bn in procurement funds in addition to the funds available through the ordinary defence budget. By also engaging in defence diplomacy with a range of allies – especially those who are also wary of China – Manila is also making good progress in procuring second-hand military equipment, often on favourable terms.

The United States will be key to this effort and Manila has signalled that US-Philippine relations are entering a new era by granting US Navy ships permission to start using Subic Bay – a strategically important naval facility from which US forces were evicted 20 years earlier. While US forces will not officially be based at Subic, they are expected to be in the Philippines more frequently and in greater numbers as Manila actively encourages the US pivot to Asia as a hedge against Chinese expansion. Japan has also emerged as a key partner, with newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, actively courting the Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines and deepening Tokyo’s defence ties with Manila.

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