MANILA Every nation has the right to beef or ramp up its defense spending.
This was the response of Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong when sought for a comment on China's plan to boost up its defense spending this year by USD175 billion.
"Defense spending is a legitimate undertaking of any sovereign country. It is the right of all nations to strengthen their national defense capabilities within the bounds of international law," he added.
Some nations even include defense spending in their topmost priorities, Andolong pointed out.
However, the Philippines is not among these countries as attested by the fact that the country's defense budget is still less than 1 percent.
"In the Philippines, however, the defense budget remains at less than one percent (0.9 percent) of our gross domestic product. Needless to say, this is not enough to fund defense infrastructures and facilities. This is the reason why we are urging our legislators to increase our defense budget in order to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines' modernization and boost our defense capability," Andolong noted.
The DND spokesperson also stressed the need to increase the country's defense spending in order for it to be at par with other ASEAN countries.
"Ang hinihingi ni SND (Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana) eh, i-increase, kasi ang average budget ng ating ASEAN neighbors is 1.5 percent of their gross domestic product (What SND wants is to increase it, because the average budget of our ASEAN neighbor is 1.5 percent of their gross domestic product)," Andolong noted.
Source: Philippine News Agency