By the Numbers: Modernization of the Philippine Military

 The data driving Asia

The Philippine Congress in 1995 passed the Armed Forces Modernization Act, hoping to provide around $7.3 billion to modernize the Philippine military over a 15 year period. But a change in government priorities derailed the plans, leaving the Armed Forces of the Philippines one of the most poorly-equipped militaries in Asia. President Benigno Aquino in 2010, amid growing external and continuing internal security threats, signed a new modernization law seeking to allot more resources to upgrade the military. We explore his administration’s progress in modernizing the military, by the numbers:

$900 million

The value of military upgrades that authorities awarded during Aquino’s first three years in office. Data from the Philippine Department of National Defense shows that the government funded 36 modernization projects spread across the Philippine army, navy, and air force.


The number of additional naval ships that the Philippines would like to acquire from the United States as part of a new military assistance program announced by U.S. secretary of state John Kerry when he visited in December. The Philippines has already acquired two refurbished U.S. Coast Guard frigates since 2010, but it would need six more to guard its coastline effectively, according to armed forces chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista.

The Philippine Navy's BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15), formerly a U.S. Coast Guard vessel. Source: U.S. Pacific Fleet's flickr photostream, U.S. government work.

The Philippine Navy’s BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15), formerly a U.S. Coast Guard vessel. Source: U.S. Pacific Fleet’s flickr photostream, U.S. government work.


The last time the Philippine military flew a fighter jet, an F-5 provided by the United States. The Philippines in October announced that it will acquire 12 FA-50 fighter jets from South Korea to beef up its defense capability. The jets are expected to arrive in 2015.

$18 million

The value of the contract that the Philippine government awarded to U.S. defense contractor Raytheon for maritime border security. Raytheon will design and build a National Coast Watch Center, support integration of data from various agencies into that center, and install an automatic identification system and radio communications for use by the Philippine government.


The number of unmanned drones that the Philippines is seeking to acquire to improve its surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. They constitute one of four priority acquisition programs for the country’s marine corps, the other three being target acquisition device subsystems, tactical sensor integration subsystems, and initial integrated logistics support.


3 comments for “By the Numbers: Modernization of the Philippine Military

  1. Rodolfo Severino
    February 27, 2014 at 16:32

    What about bribery and other forms of corruption?

  2. January 11, 2015 at 13:54

    Slowly but surely Philippines will eventually have 6 capable missile armed frigates and 1 squadron of fa-50 and shore based missile system will improved significantly in monitoring and enforcing Philippines maritime rights.

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