Philippine Naval Modernization (PIPVTR Monograph) by Rommel Banlaoi


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  • The Philippines could probably fit a rolling anti ship missile frame, automated mini bushmaster,torpedo launcher or anti aircraft gun into each modified size mpac boat to boost its territorial defense.
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Philippine Naval Modernization (PIPVTR Monograph) by Rommel Banlaoi

  1. 1. PHILIPPINE NAVAL MODERNIZATION Current State and Continuing Challenges Rommel C. Banlaoi Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR)   2  
  2. 2. Philippine Naval Modernization: Current State and Continuing ChallengesBy Rommel C. BanlaoiCopyright@ 2012by Professor Rommel C. BanlaoiAll rights reserved.Except for brief quotations for scholarly purposes, no part of this publication may bereproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means,electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recordings and/or otherwise without the priorwritten permission of the author. You may reach the author at byPhilippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR)Quezon City, PhilippinesRecommended Bibliographic Entry:Rommel C. Banlaoi, Philippine Naval Modernization: Current State and ContinuingChallenges (Quezon City: Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and TerrorismResearch, 2012).*This monograph is a revised, updated and expanded version of a paper presented at theinternational conference on “Naval Modernization in Southeast Asia: Nature, Causes andConsequences” organized by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, MarinaMandarin Hotel, Singapore on 26-27 January 2011. Comments are welcomed.   3  
  3. 3. PHILIPPINE NAVAL MODERNISATION Current State and Continuing Challenges ROMMEL C. BANLAOI ABSTRACT As a maritime nation of around 95 million people and an archipelagic state of1,707 islands, not to mention the contested islands in the South China Sea, there is nodoubt that the Philippine Navy (PN) has an essential role to play in the country’ssecurity. However, from the finest naval forces in Asia in the 1960s, PN has become oneof the most ill-equipped navies in the world at present despite the recent acquisition ofsecond-hand Hamilton Class Cutters from the United States. In fact, PN is the only onein the region without a missile capability. Though PN has a Naval ModernizationProgram to upgrade its present capabilities, current threat perceptions, inter-servicerivalry, resource constraints, difficult procurement system and lack of socialacceptability have stunted the growth of naval forces in the Philippines. This paper aims to describe the nature, causes and consequences of navalmodernization in the Philippines. This study contends that the success of PNmodernization depends largely on threat perceptions of current decision-makers,effective mobilization of necessary financial resources, resolution of inter-servicerivalry, efficient procurement system and strong social acceptability .   4  
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION Since the formulation of Thayer Mahan’s concept of sea power1 and thedevelopment of Julian Stafford Corbett’s principles of maritime strategy,2 sovereignstates have regarded the strengthening of their navies as a vital source of nationalgreatness and a credible instrument of national power. Informed by the realist theory ofinternational relations, most, if not all, of the developed countries have, in fact, investedtheir strategic resources on the development of their navies for world expansion, powerprojection and global power balancing.3 Even developing countries are now involved invarious levels of naval modernization for sovereignty protection and nation-buildingpurposes.4 With the proliferation of various transnational security threats operating inthe maritime domain5 and the growing relevance of the sea not only for internationalcommerce and navigation but also as a supplier of important natural resources such asoil, gas and other marine products, sea power development6 and naval transformation7have become aspirations and essential components of maritime security strategy ofvarious nations. 8                                                                                                                          1 Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 (London: Metheun & Co,1965). First published in 1890.2Julian Stafford Corbett, Principles of Maritime Strategy (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, Classics ofSeapower Series, 1988). Also see Julian Stafford Corbett, Naval and Military Essays. (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1914). reissued by Cambridge University Press, 2009.3 Lawrence W. Prabhakar, Joshua H. HO and Sam Bateman (eds), The Evolving Maritime Balance ofPower in the Asia Pacific: Maritime Doctrines and Nuclear Weapons at Sea (Singapore: WorldScientific, 2006).4 For a good reference on the role of the navy in nation-building, see David Stevens and John Reeve (eds),The Navy and the Nation (New South Wales: Allen and Unwin, 2005).5 See Caroline Ziemke-Dickens and Julian Droogan (eds), Asian Transnational Security Challenges:Emerging Trends, Regional Visions (Sydney: Council for Asian Transnational Threat Research and theCentre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, 2010) and David Fouse (ed), Issues forEngagement: Asian Perspectives on Transnational Security Challenges (Honolulu: Asia Pacific Centerfor Security Studies, 2010).6 On sea power development, see Geoffrey Till, Seapower: A Guide for the Twenty First Century (Londonand New York: Taylor and Francis, 2009).7 On Naval transformation, see Geoffrey Till, Naval Transformation, Ground Forces, and theExpeditionary Impulse: The Sea-Basing Debate (Carlisle: Strategic Studies Institute, 2006).8For more details on the many ramifications of these issues, see Rupert Herbert-Burns, Sam Bateman andPeter Lehr (Eds), Llyod’s MIU Handbook of Maritime Security (London and New York: CRC Press Taylorand Francis Group, 2009), Chong Guan Kwa, John Kristen Skogan (eds), Maritime Security in SoutheastAsian (London and New York: Routledge, 2007), and Joshua Ho and Catherine Zara Raymond (eds), TheBest of Times and The Worst of Times: Maritime Security in the Asia Pacific (Singapore: WorldScientific and Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, 2005).   5  
  5. 5. In short, many countries are now positioning their navies as part of their nationalsecurity strategy that aims to effectively address current and emerging securitychallenges in the maritime world. 9 However, the Philippines, which is considered as an archipelagic state and amaritime nation, 10 is regrettably possessing a very small, ill-equipped, and truly modest,if not obsolete, navy in Asia. The Philippines’ current naval capability is arguably notcommensurate with the archipelagic and maritime character of the country. From oneof the world’s finest naval forces in the 1950s, and considered to be the best inSoutheast Asia in the 1960s and 1970s, the Philippine Navy (PN) has enormouslydeteriorated into one of the world’s weakest in terms of equipment and naval assets.11At present, PN is lagging very far behind its neighbours in maritime Southeast Asia andhas become ridiculously a butt of joke among navies in the region.12 A senior navalofficer regrets that PN is really lagging both in quality and quantity among other naviesin the Asia Pacific region.13 Despite this discomforting reality, PN continues to have a very strongcommitment and determination to upgrade its present naval capability not only torevive its past glory but more importantly to carry out its inherent function as the“Guardian of the Philippine seas” and “Protector of Philippine sovereignty”. Towardsthis end, PN has crafted the Philippine Naval Modernization Program (PNMP) pursuantto the implementation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program(AFPMP).14 With the current threats and emerging challenges emanating from the Philippinemaritime domain, PN also formulated in 2006 the Strategic Sail Plan 2020 to provide aroadmap of naval transformation and development and thereby make PN a significantsymbol of national pride and effective instrument of national power. PN even preparedthe 15-Year Strategic Development Plan completed in 1999 and the 15-year Equipment                                                                                                                          9 See Jack McCaffrie (ed), Positioning Navies for the Future (Sydney: Halstead Press and Sea PowerCentre-Australia, 2006).10 For a useful reference on this topic, See Mary Ann Palma, “The Philippines as an Archipelagic and aMaritime Nation: Interests, Challenges and Perspectives”, RSIS Working Paper, No. 182 (21 July 2009).11 Sam Bateman, “Naval Balance in Southeast Asia - Search for Stability , Janes Defence Weekly (11 May2005).12 See International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2010 (London: IISS, 2010);Geoffrey Till, Emrys Chew and Joshua Ho (eds), Globalization and Defence in the Asia Pacific: ArmsAcross Asia (New York and London: Routledge, 2009); Andrew Tan, “Force Modernization Trends inSoutheast Asia{, IDSS Working Paper, No. 59 (2004); and, Bates Gill and J.N. Mak (eds), Arms,Transparency and Security in South-East Asia (Sweden: Stockholm International Peace ResearchInstitute 1997).13 Jose Renan Suarez, :Towards a Navy of Substance: A Modernization Program”, Navy Digest, Vol. 3,No. 1 (January-June 2003), p. 32.14 The AFPMDP was enacted by the Philippine Congress in 1995.   6  
  6. 6. Acquisition Plan drafted in 2005, among other modernization plans, to realize its long-term vision and fulfil its current missions. In other words, PN is not short of plans and programs to modernize its navalforces. In fact, the Philippines has the most systematic, elaborate and legally mandatednaval modernization programs in Southeast Asia. Yet, PN is still one of the most ill-quipped navies in Asia. PN lacks the adequate capacity to effectively promote maritimesecurity in the world’s second largest archipelago. While there is no doubt that thePhilippines has vigorously pursued naval modernization programs since 1995 to ensurethe country from various maritime threats and defend its maritime territories, severaldomestic challenges obstruct the effective implementation of these programs. This monograph describes the nature and causes of naval modernization in thePhilippines and examines its unintended consequences for regional security. It alsoidentifies some factors that pose domestic challenges to the realization of PNmodernization.   7  
  7. 7. BRIEF BACKGROUND AND CURRENT STATE OF THE PHILIPPINE NAVY PN traces its “glorious” naval tradition from the pre-colonial times. On the basisof this notion, PN propagates and even romanticizes the idea that the “story of thePhilippine Navy is, in a sense therefore, the story of the [Filipino] nation itself.”15 Butbased on historical facts, the current navy actually evolved from the Philippine NavalPatrol created in 1947, less than a year after the granting of Philippine independence on12 June 1946. It was only in 1951 when PN received its present name. In the 1950s, the Philippines was the only country in Southeast Asia with anoperational navy composed of all naval and marine forces, combat vessels, auxiliarycraft, naval aircraft, shore installations, and other supporting units.16 Because of itserstwhile capabilities, PN became the role model of its Asian neighbours. Armed with acredible and reliable navy assisted by its security ally, the United States, pursuant toMutual Defence Act of 1954, the Philippines courageously participated during theheight of the Korean War. By the 1960s, the Philippines received the very rare accoladesof its Southeast Asian neighbours as the “best equipped navy” in the region. In fact, PNproudly writes in its official history that during the 1960s, PN was the envy of theregion.17 Indonesia even requested PN to share its best practices in organizing a navy.Malaysia and Thailand used PN as the benchmark in the development of their respectivenavies. Brunei and Singapore accorded PN with highest respect. PN also participated ina peacekeeping mission in the Vietnam War and played a constructive role during theCambodian crisis. During those glorious years, PN excelled on anti-submarine warfareand amphibious operations, which became one of the sources of the country’s nationalpride in the international community.18 However, PN capabilities rapidly deteriorated in the 1970s because of manyinterrelated factors. But one of the major reasons identified was the country’s heavydependence on American security umbrella for its own external defence at the height ofthe cold war and this made the Philippines complacent in developing its capabilities for                                                                                                                          15Headquarters Philippine Navy, “A Comprehensive History of the Philippine Navy” at <accessed on 1 December 2010>.16 Ibid.17 Ibid. For a discussion on the glorious days of the Philippine Navy, see Regino Giagonia, The PhilippineNavy (1898-1996) (Manila: Headquarters of the Philippine Navy, 1997).18 For an excellent discussion on the exemplary practices of the Philippine Navy on naval operation, seeOffice of the Assistant Naval Staff for Operations, N3, Lessons from Naval Battles and Operations in thePhilippines for PN Doctrines and Development I(Manila: Headquarters Philippine Navy, undated).   8  
  8. 8. autonomous defence.19 The country’s strong preoccupation on internal securitycampaigns against local communist and Muslim separatist insurgencies also led to thegovernment’s utter neglect of the Navy because the bulk military resources and defencespending went to the Philippine Army (PA), which is leading the ground operationsagainst internal threats.20 As a result, PN faced the grim realities of rapidly ageingships, patrol vessels and other naval equipments in the 1980s. The withdrawal ofAmerican forces from Subic in the 1990s due to the termination of the Military BasesAgreement (MBA) in 1991 enormously diminished US military assistance to thePhilippines. This made the “once-strong” and “once-special” Philippine-Americansecurity relations essentially moribund.21 The fading of Philippine-American securityrelations in the post-bases era severely aggravated the deterioration of PN until itbecame practically crippled at the turn of the 21st century due to obsolescence of itsfloating assets and non-sustenance of genuine replacement parts for ships, machinery,electronic communications, and fire control systems.22 As an example of an apparent corrosion of Philippine naval capabilities, PN’sCannon Class escort destroyer PF 11, locally known as BRP (Boat of the Republic of thePhilippines) Rajah Humabon (BRP-RH), was the state-of-art patrol frigate duringWorld War II. The BRP- RH’s sister ships in the United States were all commissionedin 1943 and already in display in US naval museums. But the BRP-RH served PN invarious naval exercises in the region.23 In fact, the BRP-RH also served as PN’s largestasset and symbolized the country’s Flagship. Aside from BRP-RH, PN still impressively operates some World War II vintageships such as BRP Rizal and BRP Quezon, which were originally used as minesweepingflotillas of the US in the early 1940s. Travelling the average speed of 20 knots, both arestill being used to patrol the nine facilities of the Philippines in the South China Sea.Furthermore, PN continues to use 8 out of 60 Patrol Craft Escorts (PCEs) built for theUS Navy during World War II as anti-submarine convoy escorts. PN possesses Patrol                                                                                                                          19 For excellent discussions on the Philippines’ dependency on American security umbrella during thisperiod, see Stephen R. Shalom, The United States and the Philippines: A Study of Neocolonialism(Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1986); Ed Garcia and Francisco Nemenzo, The Sovereign Quest:Freedom from Foreign Military Bases (Quezon City: Claretian Publications, 1988); and Patricia AnnPaez, The Bases Factor: The Realpolitik of RP-US Relations (Manila: Center for Strategic andInternational Studies of the Philippines, 1985).20 For a recent study on these twin-insurgencies, see Soliman M. Santos and Paz Verdades M. Santos, etal, Primed and Purposeful: Armed Groups and Human Security Efforts in the Philippines (Geneva:Small Arms Survey, 2010).21 Richard Fisher, “Rebuilding the US-Philippine Alliance,” The Heritage Foundation Backgrounder, No.1255 (22 February 199).22 Fancis Malahay, “The Need for the Inclusion of Submarines in the AFP Modernization Program toEnhance the Navy Capability” (MA Thesis: National Defence College of the Philippines, 2004), p. 18.23 “The Technology of the Philippine Navy” at <accessed on 3 December 2010>.   9  
  9. 9. Ships 19, 20, 22 and 23 that were once part of the South Vietnamese fleet that escapedduring the fall of Saigon government in 1975 and eventually sold to the Philippinegovernment.24 Based on its current inventories, PN vintage naval assets include thefollowing: 1 Rajah Humabon Light Frigate 3 Jacinto Class Corvettes 1 Cyclone Class 2 Quezon Class Corvettes 6 Miguel Malvar Class Corvettes 2 Aguinaldo Class Large Patrol Craft 3 Kagitingan Class Patrol Craft 6 Tomas Batillo Class (PKM 200) Patrol Craft 12 Conrado Yap Class (SK) Patrol Craft 2 Point Class Cutters 24 Jose Andrada Class Patrol Craft 6 LSTs (Landing Ship Tanks) 2 LSVs (Logistic Support Vessels) 7 LCUs (Landing Craft Utilities) 1 Repair LST (Landing Ship Tank) Hull 6 Armored Troop Carriers 6 LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized) Mk8 11 LCM Mk6 2 AFDL (Auxiliary Floating Dry Docks) (AFDL 40 No Longer In Use) 1 Floating Dry Docks25 Most of the PN assets (see Table 1 for more details) are considered obsolete.Though half of these outdated assets are still “service capable”, the rest really needdesperate repair if not total replacement or final decommissioning. Based on mostrecent reports, of the 53 ships in the PN inventory of naval assets, only 25 areconsidered operational. 26 Out of its 32 small crafts, only 23 are operational while onlyfour of its ten Navy auxiliary ships are operational. 27 On 10 December 2010, PNannounced the final decommissioning of three World War II vintage patrol crafts, whichwill be sold as scrap metal to the highest bidder.28 Thus, when the Philippine Congress passed the AFPMP in 1995, PN immediatelyformed the Naval Modernization Office (NMO), which became the symbol of PNaspiration for naval modernization. The NMO prepared Philippine Navy Modernization                                                                                                                          24 P. Ervin A. Mundo, “A Multi-Purpose Vessel for the Philippine Navy: Options and Prospects”, Office ofStrategic and Special Studies Digest (4th Quarter 2008), p. 18.25 “Philippine Navy” at <accessed on 8December 2010>.26 Alexis Romero, “Navy decommissions 3 WW II patrol boats”, Philippine Star (10 December 2010).27 Ibid.28 Ibid.   10  
  10. 10. Program in August 1995, the 15-Year Strategic Development Plan completed in 1999,and the 15-year Equipment Acquisition Plan prepared in 2005. These Plans aim topurchase new naval assets and to upgrade existing ones in order to catch-up with thecurrent phase of naval developments in the region. Table 1 INVENTORY OF EXISTING NAVAL ASSETS OF THE PHILIPPINES FRIGATES  Datu Kalantiaw (USN Cannon  BRP Rajah Humabon (PF-11) Class) (ex-USN USS Atherton DE-169) CORVETTES  Jacinto Class (RN Peacock o BRP Magat Salamat (PS- Class) 20) (ex-USN USS Geyety o BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS-35) AM-239) (ex-RN HMS Peacock o BRP Sultan Kudarat (PS- P239) 22) (ex-USN USS PCE-895 o BRP Apolinario / USS Crestview E-PCE- Mabini (PS-36) (ex-RN 895) 1975 HMS Plover P240) o BRP Datu Marikudo (PS- o BRP Artemio Ricarte (PS- 23) (ex-USN USS PCE(R)- 37) (ex-RN HMS Starling 853) P241) o BRP Cebu (PS-28) (ex-USN  Rizal Class (USN Auk Class) USS PCE-881) o BRP Quezon (PS-70) (ex- o BRP Negros USN USS Vigilance AM- Occidental (PS-29) (ex- 324) USN USS PCE-884) o BRP Rizal (PS-74) (ex-USN o BRP Pangasinan (PS-31) USS Murrelet AM-372) (ex-USN USS PCE-891)  Miguel Malvar Class (USN 1948 Admirable / PCE Class) o BRP Iloilo (PS-32) (ex-USN o BRP Miguel Malvar (PS- USS PCE-897) 1948 19) (ex-USN USS PCE(R) 852 / USS Brattleboro E- PCE(R)-852) PATROL CRAFTS  USS Cyclone, now BRP o BRP Alfredo Peckson (PG- Mariano Alvarez (USN 372) Cyclone Class) o BRP Simeon Castro (PG- o BRP Mariano Alvarez (PS- 374) 38) (ex-USN USS Cyclone o BRP Carlos Albert (PG-375) PC-1) o BRP Heracleo Alano (PG-  Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo Class 376) o BRP Gen. Emilio o BRP Juan Magluyan (PG Aguinaldo (PG-140) 392), a Jose Andrada class o BRP Gen. Antonio patrol boat Luna (PG-141) o BRP Liberato Picar (PG-  Kagitingan Class 377) o BRP Bagong Lakas (PG- o BRP Hilario Ruiz (PG-378) 102) o BRP Rafael Pargas (PG- o BRP Bagong Silang (PG- 379) 104) o BRP Estor Reinoso (PG-  Tomas Batillo Class (ROKN 380) Chamsuri PKM Class) o BRP Dioscoro Papa (PG- o BRP Tomas Batillo (PG- 381) 110) o BRP Ismael Lomibao (PG- o BRP Boni Serrano (PG-111) 383) o BRP Bienvenido o BRP Leovigildo Salting (PG-112) Gantioqui (PG-384) o BRP Salvador Abcede (PG- o BRP Federico Martir (PG-   11  
  11. 11. 114) 385) o BRP Ramon Aguirre (PG- o BRP Filipino Flojo (PG- 115) 386) o BRP Nicolas Mahusay (PG- o BRP Anastacio 116) Cacayorin (PG-387) o BRP Dionisio Ojeda (PG- o BRP Manuel Gomez (PG- 117)] 388) o BRP Emilio Liwanag (PG- o BRP Teotimo 118) (ex-ROKN PKM223) Figoracion (PG-389)  Conrado Yap Class o BRP Jose Loor Sr. (PG- o BRP Jose Artiaga (PG-844) 390) o BRP Leopoldo Regis (PG- o BRP Juan Magluyan (PG- 387), 392) o BRP Apollo Tiano (PG- o BRP Florencio Inigo (PG- 851) 393) o BRP Sulpicio o BRP Felix Apolinario (PG- Fernandez (PG-853) 395)  BRP Jose Andrada (PG-370)  Ex-Point Class Cutters o BRP Enrique Jurado (PG- (USCG) 371) o BRP Alberto Navarette (PG-394)(ex- USCGC Point Evans) o BRP Abraham Campo (PG- 396)(ex-USCGC Point Doran) AMPHIBIOUS SHIPS  ex-WW2 LST 512-1152 Class o BRP Benguet (LT-507) o BRP Zamboanga del o BRP Kalinga Apayao (LT- Sur (LT-86) 516) o BRP South Cotabato (LT-  Bacolod City Class 87) (Modified Frank Besson o BRP Laguna (LT-501) Class LSV) o BRP Lanao del Norte(LT- o BRP Bacolod City (LC-550) 504) o BRP Dagupan City (LC- 551) AUXILLIARY SHIPS  BRP Pag-asa (AT-25) (Formerly,  BRP Lake Buluan (AW-33) BRP Ang Pangulo) (Presidential  BRP Lake Paoay (AW-34) Yacht)  BRP Lake Taal (AF-72)  BRP Subanon (AT-291)  BRP Lake Buhi (AF-78)  BRP Bagobo (AT-293)  BRP Mangyan (AS-71) MINOR NAVAL  29 US Swift Class Patrol Boats  3 Multi-purpose Attack Crafts ASSETSSource: Public Affairs Office, Headquarters of the Philippine Navy, Navy Journal YearendEdition (Manila: The Philippine Navy, 2009). Also listed in Wikipedia, “Philippine Navy”. Based on the AFPMDP, PN has to implement within the 15-year time frame theCapability, Materiel, and Technology Development (CMTD) project under the two sub-programs of the entire military modernization scheme. With the CMTD, equipmentacquisition projects were lined up for PN to boost its naval defence power. Under theCMTD, PN was mandated to acquire necessary naval assets listed in Table 2 within the15 years mandate of the AFPMP. The implementation of CMTD should have started in1997. But the Asian financial crisis of that year aborted all military acquisitionprograms not only of the Philippines but also of the entire region.   12  
  12. 12. From its list of naval acquisition, PN only intends to develop a Navy with inshoreterritorial defence capability and does not intend to develop a Navy with a blue watercapability. Unlike some of its neighbours in Southeast Asia, the Philippines does noteven have a plan to acquire a submarine, which is a source of regional anxieties atpresent. Table 2 PHILIPPINE NAVY CAPABILITY, MATERIEL, AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT ACQUISITION UNDER THE AFP MODERNIZATION PROGRAM TYPE SUB-PROGRAM I SUB-PROGRAM II Corvette 3 3 Patrol Craft 18 6 Patrol Boat 10 6 Offshore Patrol Vessel 7 5 Mine Warfare Vessel 1 3 Frigate 3Source: Department of National Defence, In Defence of the Philippines: 1998 Defence Policy Paper(Quezon City: Department of National Defence, 1998). At present, PN still struggles with enormous challenges of naval modernization.29While PN has present defence capabilities against surface and ground targets, it,however, has limited capabilities against air targets.30 Its existing naval aircrafts canonly conduct very limited reconnaissance and transport operations. While its navalfirepower is considered sufficient for International Security Operations (ISO), PN’scapabilities for Territorial Defence Operations (TDO) are still considered meagre andinsufficient, if not totally miserable.31 PN laments: For external defence, the Navy is significantly constrained against air, surface and sub-surface threats. It cannot assure real-time reliable and secure communications. Electronic warfare capabilities are wanting in many aspects. There are serious deficiencies in the quantity and more so the quality of platforms and equipment. There are no resources for long range detection, surveillance, reconnaissance and deployment. The capability to utilize the neutralize mines still needs to be developed. The automation necessary to engage high-speed and low observable craft and weapons has not been put in place. The organization is not equipped for conventional naval warfare and needs to significantly build up its                                                                                                                          29 Philippine Navy, The Philippine Navy Modernization Program (Manila: Headquarters PhilippineNavy, 1995).30 Headquarters Philippine Navy, Naval Modernization Guide (Manila: Headquarters Philippine Navy,2008), p. 28.31 Ibid., p. 29.   13  
  13. 13. capabilities. With meagre self-defence means, PN ships are vulnerable to better-armed platforms.32 As a glaring proof of PN’s limited capability, it only has 32 active vessels to patrol36,000 nautical miles of Philippine waters.33 Given this situation, PN does not have therequired capability to defend Philippine claims in the disputed islands, islets, reefs andshoals in the South China Sea. According to a high ranking naval officer, “It is ironicthat for a country surrounded by waters, the Philippines has the worst equipped navy inthe world.” 34 With this condition, another PN officer commented, “should the Chineseor Vietnamese naval forces seize the Spratly Islands, the PN ships may not even reachthe scene of battle in the South China Sea. They can fire their missiles even before wecan see them on radar and we may never know what hit us”.35 The limited external defence capabilities of PN can also be discerned from thesize of its naval personnel. Out of an estimated 120,00036 personnel of the ArmedForces of the Philippines (AFP), only 20,000 to 30,000personnel belong to PN. 37 ThePhilippine Army has the largest personnel of around 60,000 to 70,000 while thePhilippine Air Force (PAF) has the smallest personnel of 15,000 to 20,000 (Figure 1). 38Other sources, however, indicate that PN has a total of only 20,733 personnel brokendown as follows: 1,888 Officers including 400 Marines 17,342 Enlisted Personnel including 7,700 Marines 1,503 Civilian Employees 20,733 TOTAL39                                                                                                                          32 Ibid.33 Abigail Kwok, “Navy Optimistic Modernization Will Finally Push Through”, Philippine Daily Inquirer(28 July 2010).34 Cited in Alberto Araojo, “Towards a Responsive Education and Skills Training Program in Preparationfor PN Modernization” (Commandant’s Paper: AFP Joint Command and Staff College, 10 January 2001).Also see Manuel de Leon, “The Philippine Navy Fleet Modernization” (MA Thesis: National DefenceCollege of the Philippines, 1992).35 Ibid.36 There is an estimate that the AFP has a total strength of 130,000. See “Military: The Philippines”, at <accessed on 7 December 2010>37 But the website of the Philippine Navy states that it only has 21,957 personnel composed of sailors,marines and civilian employees. See Philippine Navy website at to Naval intelligence, PN has no more than 22,000 personnel. Other sources indicate that PNhas a total strength of 24,000.38 Armed Forces of the Philippines, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, 1 December 2010.Also see Armed Forces of the Philippines, Facebook at <accessed on 1 December 2010).39 “Philippine Navy” at <accessed on 8December 2010>.   14  
  14. 14. Figure 1 ESTIMATED STRENGTH OF PN AGAINST AFP Philippine  Air   Force     15,000-­‐20,000   Philippine   Philippine   13%   Army   Navy   65,000  to   20,000  to   70,000   30,000   57%   30%    Sources: Armed Forces of the Philippines, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, 1 December2010. Armed Forces of the Philippines, Facebook at Despite its small number relative to the gargantuan tasks it has to perform, PNhas recently adopted a very ambitious operational concept that seeks to establish “navalprominence in all mission areas”.40 Though this concept can generate some false hopesand failed expectations in the Service, it is from this operational concept that the PNinspires its personnel to perform three major roles that reveal the comprehensivefunction of the naval service in the 21st century: military, constabulary and diplomatic,to wit: Military Role is the essence of any military institution such as the Navy. In PN context, this role is generally viewed to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Philippines. This is sustained through fleet-marine operations employing the use of forces to launch from the sea to enable application of military capabilities and sustained units in the sea. This role does not only to maintain naval prominence with the country’s maritime jurisdiction but may also reinforce claims in disputed territories and contested waters.                                                                                                                          40 The Philippine Navy, “An Operational Concept: Naval Prominence in all Mission Areas” (MaritimeStakeholder’s Summit, 18-19 May 2009).   15  
  15. 15. Constabulary Role meanwhile refers to preserving the internal peace and unity of the Philippine archipelago. The task involves inter-agency operations and collaborative efforts with other maritime enforcement agencies such as the Philippine Coast Guard, Maritime Industry Authorities, The PNP-Maritime Group and Bureau of Fisheries. Diplomatic Role can be viewed in terms of contribution of PN to regional peace and stability as well as prevention of inter-state conflicts. In this regard, PN conducts a wide range of military and non-military activities designed to promote peace and security and enhance security cooperation in the region. These activities ensure peaceful purposes and aim for cooperation rather than dispute.41 These aforementioned roles have complex interlocking functions to perform thefollowing interrelated tasks that are arguably easier said than done considering thecurrent PN resources: internal security, territorial defence, disaster response and reliefoperations, support to national development, international defence and securityengagement and international humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping operations(see Figure 2). It is expected, however, that the adoption of this new operationalconcept will put PN in “a better position to define how it intends to conduct its mandate,program its resources for better service delivery, and formulate our future assetsacquisitions to match with emerging strategic realities.”42 It can be discerned from thisoperational concept that the main crux of naval modernization in the Philippines is tocreate an inshore territorial defence navy that can secure the Philippine archipelagofrom internal threats and external challenges.43 Notwithstanding the grandiose intention of this operational concept, it is sad tostress that PN does not have enough wherewithal at present to fully implement it. PNadmits that its weapons systems and resources are not sufficient to enable the Service ineffectively confronting current and emerging threats to Philippine maritime security.PN discloses that while it has short to medium range anti surface capabilities, it has avery limited short range capabilities and does not even have long range anti-aircompetences.44 PN expresses grief that it does not have any anti-submarine, electronicwarfare and mine warfare capabilities. Adding insult to injury is the inconvenient truth                                                                                                                          41 Office of the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff for Operations, N3, Compilation of Operational Policies,Procedures and Guidelines. 2009 (Manila: Headquarters Philippine Navy, 2009). Also see “Draft PNStrategic Sail Plan 2020” (Manila: Headquarters Philippine Navy, 2010).42 Vice Admiral Ferdinand S. Golez, “State of the Navy Address”, Navy Journal, Vol, XVI, Issue No. III(May 2009), p. 18.43 The author is grateful to CDR Rommel Ong of the Philippine Navy for stressing this point.44 “A Strategy for Naval Defence and Modernization” in Headquarters Philippine Navy, NavalModernization Guide, p. 3.   16  
  16. 16. that the Philippines is the only Navy in Southeast Asia without a much-needed missilecapability.45 Brunei and Singapore, two smallest countries in the region in terms of land areaand population, have better equipped navies than PN.46 To adapt to the many securitychallenges of the 21st century, naval developments in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand andVietnam are in fact growing much faster than the Philippines.47 It is essential to takeinto account, however, that naval developments in Southeast Asia are very modest and“considerably less ambitious” compared to the more developed states like Australia,China, India, Japan, and South Korea.48 These advance states are now involved in a seapower development that has tremendous implications for the evolving maritime balanceof power in the Asia Pacific.49 In other words, while PN has sufficient capabilities for ISO, it does not have thenecessary capabilities for TDO compared with its neighbours in the region. Even itscapabilities to maintain presence in key maritime points of the archipelago are trulywanting. Existing PN ships that are tasked to undertake effective patrols and efficientblockades in the EEZ only have 40-mile radius coverage as against the 200-mile EEZthat they need to protect and defend.50 Its ill-equipped coastal patrol and anti-infiltration ships only have two-day endurance and 20-mile radius coverage, which isnot enough given the country’s archipelagic features.51 Though PN has the present capabilities to undertake efficient amphibiouslanding, reliable electronic intelligence missions, and small but credible special navaloperations,52 it does not have deterrent naval power against unwanted activitieshappening around Philippine territorial waters, particularly in Sulu Sea of the SouthernPhilippines where all sorts of maritime crimes occur.53 Thus, naval modernization                                                                                                                          45 Ibid.46 For more discussion, see Rommel C. Banlaoi, ,“Military Developments and Relations in Southeast Asia”(Paper presented at the East Asia Security Outlook Conference organized by Sultan Haji Hassanal BolkiahInstitute of Defence and Strategic Studies Ministry of Defence, Brunei Darussalam on 7 January 2010).47 See Tim Huxley, “Southeast Asia’s Navy in the 21st Century: Adapting to New Challenges” in AndrewForbes (ed), Sea Power: Challenges Old and New (Sydney: Halstead Press, 2007), pp. 259-270.48 Ibid.49 Lawrence W. Prabhakar, Joshua H. HO and Sam Bateman (eds), The Evolving Maritime Balance ofPower in the Asia Pacific: Maritime Doctrines and Nuclear Weapons at Sea (Singapore: WorldScientific, 2006).50 Malahay, p. 75.51 Ibid.52 Ibid.53 For more discussions, see Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Political Stability in the Southern Philippines: Threatsof Insurgency, Internal Conflicts and Key Players” (Paper delivered at the International Workshop onSecurity and Stability in the Southern Philippines: Implications for Australia and the Region held at theUniversity of Wollongong, Australia on 28-29 September 2010).   17  
  17. 17. continues to be a strong aspiration in the Philippines being a maritime nation and anarchipelagic state. Figure 2 ROLES OF THE PHILIPPINE NAVYSource: The Philippine Navy, “An Operational Concept: Naval Prominence in all Mission Areas”(Maritime Stakeholder’s Summit, 18-19 May 2009).   18  
  18. 18. NATURE AND PHILOSOPHY OF PHILIPPINE NAVAL MODERNIZATION Philippine naval modernization program is guided by the over-all objectives of theAFP Modernization Program, which intends to “make the AFP a worthy player in anyregional or international security arrangement.”54 Specifically, the AFP ModernizationProgram aims to pursue the following: 1. To develop the AFP’s capability to uphold the sovereignty of and territorial integrity of the Republic and to secure the national territory from all forms of intrusion and encroachment; 2. To develop the AFP’s capability to assist civilian agencies in the preservation of the national patrimony, including the country’s living and non-living marine, submarine, mineral, forest and other natural resources located within its territory and its Exclusive Economic Zone; 3. To enhance the AFP’s capability to fulfill its mandate to protect the Filipino people not only from armed threats but the ill effects of life-threatening and destructive consequences of natural and man-made disasters and calamities, including typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, major accidents in far- flung or inaccessible terrain or at sea from all forms of ecological damage; 4. To improve the AFP’s capability to assist other agencies in the enforcement of domestic and foreign policies as well as international covenants against piracy, white slavery, smuggling, drug trafficking, hijacking of aircraft and sea craft and the transport of toxic and other ecologically-harmful substance taking place in or through Philippine territory; 5. To enhance the AFP’s capability to assist the Philippine National Police in law enforcement and internal security operations; 6. To enhance the AFP’s capability to fulfill the country’s international commitments; and 7. To develop the AFP’s capability to support national development.55                                                                                                                          54Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, AFP Modernization Program, “ProgramOverview” at<accessed on 26 December 2010>.55 Ibid.   19  
  19. 19. PN modernization efforts are also based on the premise that PN shall be at theforefront of external defence and the bastion in the promotion of Philippine maritimesecurity. Naval modernization, therefore, may be viewed as the cornerstone ofPhilippine force modernization. As maritime nation of 95 million Filipinos andarchipelagic state of 7,107 islands, not to mention the contested islands in the SouthChina, PN contends that the country needs to rely on a credible navy that is mandated toprovide naval defence of the country and assure maritime security of the Filipino nation.Modernizing the naval force is therefore imperative in the realization of the overall goalsof national security. PN modernization also supports the latest National MilitaryStrategy of the Philippines, which endeavours to accomplish the following militaryobjectives: 1. Decisively defeat all armed internal security threats; 2. Maintain territorial integrity and defend the national territory; 3. Protect the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ); 4. Contribute to regional peace and stability; and, 5. Support and assist lead government agencies within the AFP’s capabilities As directed by national authorities in the following areas: conduct of Socio-politico-economic development programs; respond to national emergencies; enforcement of national laws.56 From these military objectives, PN identifies its three primary missions: 1)ensuring territorial integrity, 2) protection of the EEZ, and 3) contribution to regionalpeace and stability. These three primary missions are consistent with PN operationalconcept that pursues naval modernization with the main intent of establishing aninshore territorial defence navy. The PN also takes cognizance of its supporting role inISO, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, and in the enforcement ofPhilippine national laws.57 The nature and philosophy of the present efforts to modernize PN are bestarticulated in PNMP. PN regards the PNMP as part of the overall process of navaltransformation and development, to wit: The Philippine Naval Modernization Program (PNMP) is a transformative endeavour that would enable the Navy to effectively perform its mandate of defending the national territory, protecting the nation’s maritime interests and of maintaining a regime of law and order within the extensive maritime jurisdiction of the country. It aims to                                                                                                                          56General Headquarters Armed Forces of the Philippines. The National Military Strategy (Quezon City:Armed Forces of the Philippines, 07 January 2002). This document is currently being amended to suitthe current situation.57 Headquarters Philippine Navy, The Philippine Navy Fifteen-Year Equipment Acquisition Plan(Updated Manuscript, 28 April 2009).   20  
  20. 20. develop capabilities in the command and control of forces, collaborative operations with other Services, the detection, tracking and neutralization of threats, the surveillance of the maritime zone and the deployment of mobile forces all over the archipelago.58 The most recent effort to modernize PN is embodied in the Strategic Sail Plan2020 (SSP 2020), which expresses the most current aspiration of PN “to restore itsformer glory and surpass it in the near future.”59 Initially drafted in 2006, the SSP 2020provides the roadmap of PN for capability development and naval modernization. Itadopts the overarching philosophy of “performing while transforming” as it attempts tomake PN strong and credible Philippine naval force of the future. Its main vision is tomake PN “a credible Navy that our maritime nation can be proud of” by 2020.60 One important innovation of SSP 2020 is the creation of the Centre for NavalLeadership and Excellence, which is considered to be the first of its kind in the wholeAFP. The main purpose of the Centre is “to oversee, ensure and sustain the properimplementation and cascading of the Sail Plan as well facilitate its review andenhancement.” Specifically, the Centre is mandated to perform the followingfunctions: 1. Oversee the implementation of the PN Strategic Sail Plan 2020. 2. Organize/facilitate forums, seminars and other leadership related activities by inviting experts, leaders and exemplary individuals from within and outside the organization who can share their personal experience in leadership and best practices in their organizations. 3. Assess the effects of PN leadership and governance programs and activities to PN personnel. 4. Develop new leadership modules and programs that can be taught to PN personnel. 5. Coordinate with HPN Staff the consolidation and dissemination of Command thrusts, plans and programs to PN units. 6. Facilitate for the establishment of networks from PN external stakeholders and ensure their involvement in PN initiatives.61 The Centre is also serving as the main mouthpiece of the PN in developing,propagating and enriching the concept of SSP 2020. One of the major advocacies of theCentre that is considered part and parcel of naval modernization is the adoption of aCapability-Based Planning (CBP) Framework as an alternative to Threat-Based                                                                                                                          58 “Navy Modernization Project Management Team and Its Membership: Making Naval Dreams aReality” in Naval Modernization Guide, p. 54.59 Headquarters Philippine Navy, “Philippine Navy Strategic Sail Plan 2020” (Presentation delivered atthe Maritime Stakeholders’ Summit held at the AFP Commissioned Officer’s Club, 18 May 2009).60 Ibid.61 “Philippine Navy Strategic Sail Plan 2020” (Draft Manuscript, October 2010), pp. 6-7.   21  
  21. 21. Planning (TBP) Framework. CBP focuses more “on delivering capabilities to addresswide range of threats rather than delivering the capability to defeat a specific threat.”Thus, the CBP embedded in the SSP 2020 conveys the benign intention of PN in itsmodernization efforts.   22  
  22. 22. CAUSES OF PHILIPPINE NAVAL MODERNIZATION Philippine naval modernization may be considered part of the regional trend ofmaritime capacity building in the Asia Pacific region.62 Domestically, the main causes ofPhilippine naval modernization are based on what the PN describes as the “Imperativesof Naval Defence”, which aims to address the following interrelated maritime securityconcerns: territorial sovereignty, protection of the marine resources, external securitythreats, maritime crimes, and maritime terrorism:63 Territorial Sovereignty Naval modernization aims to defend territorial sovereignty of the PhilippineRepublic. This includes the protection Philippine territorial waters, EEZ and claimedislands, islets and shoals in the South China Sea. The protection of Philippine territorialsovereignty is embodied in the concept of Territorial Defence, which, in the words offormer Navy Flag Officer in Command (FOIC), simply means that “not one of ourisland territories shall never again be occupied by foreign forces.”64 Based on theDefence Planning Guidance 2011-2016 issued by the DND, “With the anticipatedwinding down of internal security concerns … capability development for territorialdefence shall become the main priority over the course of the 2011-2016 medium termperiod.” (Underscoring mine)65 The passing into law on 10 March 2009 of the RepublicAct (RA) 9522, otherwise known as the New Philippine Baselines Law, reaffirms thePhilippines’ commitment to defend its territorial waters, including its extendedcontinental shelf, economic zones and an area of the contested Spratly archipelagoknown in the country as the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).66 To carry out the task of territorial defence, enhancing the capability of PN istherefore essential, which specifically means the strengthening of the Philippine FleetMarine Team. According to the Commander of the Western Command of the AFP, “theforce of choice for external defence is the Fleet Marine because it is highly mobile and                                                                                                                          62 See Andrew Forbes (ed), Maritime Capacity Building in the Asia Pacific Region (Canberra: Sea PowerCentre, 2010).63 “The Imperatives of Naval Defence” in Headquarters Philippine Navy, Naval Modernization Guide, p.2.64 Vice Admiral Ferdinand S. Golez, “State of the Navy Address”, Navy Journal, Vol, XVI, Issue No. III(May 2009), p. 18.65 Department of National Defence, Defence Planning Guidance, 2011 – 2016 (Quezon City: Office of theSecretary of National Defence, 2010).66For a complete electronic copy of the New Philippine Baselines Law or Republic Act 9922, see   23  
  23. 23. can easily adapt to both land and sea environment.”67 The Western Command of theAFP has the primary mission to defend Philippine territories in the disputed islands inthe South China Sea. Regrettably, PN only deploys 55 naval personnel in the nineoccupied features of the Philippines in the South China Sea. Protection of the Marine Resources As an archipelago, the Philippines is very rich in marine resources consideringthat 64 out of its 79 provinces have coastal domains. It means that 80% of Philippineprovinces are coastal. Out of 1,502 municipalities, 832 are considered coastal townsrepresenting 55% of total Philippine municipalities. In other words, 60% of totalPhilippine population of around 95 million live in coastal areas. The Philippines has atotal coastline of 36,289 km, which is one of the world’s largest. The country also has27,000 sq km of coral reef system with rich marine biodiversity. As such, the Philippinesbelongs to the 10th top marine capture producing country and 10th top aquacultureproducer in the world.68 Indeed, the Philippines is a maritime nation endowed withnatural resources that emanate from the maritime domain. However, its rich maritime resources are at risk because of unsustainable fishingpractices and destructive economic activities in the maritime areas. Navalmodernization intends to build the needed capacity of PN to conserve and protect itsrich maritime resources surrounding the Philippine archipelago. Because manyFilipinos get their livelihoods from the sea, the protection of the marine resources isimportant for the survival of Filipino nation. External Security Threats The Philippines does not see any current threat of external aggression from itsneighbours, particularly in Southeast Asia. There is a wide perception in the Philippinesthat the region is generally more peaceful and stable than at any time since the end ofthe cold war.69 The Philippine government accepts the view that the norm ofcooperation fostered by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has madeintra-regional sources of inter-state conflicts at its manageable level, thus far.70 Thedefence establishment even regards the adoption of an ASEAN security community                                                                                                                          67 Tessa Jamandre, “China builds lighthouse on PHL-claimed territory in Spratlys”, 8 December 2010 at <accessedon 8 December 2010.68This data is from Atty Rodel Cruz, President of the Asia-Pacific Regional Security Forum and formerUndersecretary of National Defence in the Philippines.69 For the author’s elaboration on this issue, see Rommel C. Banlaoi, Current and Emerging SecurityEnvironment in Southeast Asia: A Regional Security Appraisal for Philippine Defence, Security andForeign Policy (Manila: Yuchengco Center, 2010).70 Ibid., p. 84.   24  
  24. 24. (ASC) as a reinforcement of the pacific settlement of disputes in Southeast Asia. 71 Withthe ASC, the likelihood of inter-state wars in the region is said to be diminished. But PN asserts that it has to build naval capabilities to confront transnationalsecurity threats emanating from the Philippine maritime domain. The AFP evensupports naval modernization in order to deter potential external security threats fromits neighbours, particularly those with territorial disputes with the country.72 ThePhilippines still has unresolved territorial issues with Malaysia over Sabah. ThePhilippines also has territorial claims in the contested islands, islets, reefs and shoals inthe South China Sea involving claimants from Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan andVietnam. The Sabah Conflict and the South China Sea Disputes are two major externalsecurity concerns that may have bearing on Philippine naval modernization efforts. Thus, the Philippine military argues that though external security threatsemanating from unresolved territorial disputes over Sabah and contested features in theSouth China Sea are “less immediate” at present, the AFP “continuously seeks todevelop its capacities for territorial defence to be fully capable of undertaking unilateraldefensive operations should external armed aggression happen.”73 This military policydeclaration currently shapes the direction of naval modernization in the Philippines. Another important issue that might be considered as an external security threatto the Philippines as an archipelago is the intrusion of foreign vessels in its territorialwaters and archipelagic sea-lanes. PN has recorded an annual average of 155 foreignvessels intruding into the Philippine waters. The top-five foreign vessels that havefrequently intruded the Philippine waters are from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwanand Vietnam.74 Naval modernization aims to enhance the capability of PN to deter andprevent the intrusion of foreign vessels in Philippine waters that are considered to beone of the busiest sea lanes in Southeast Asia (Figure 3). PN is therefore developing an “Active Archipelagic Defence Strategy” (AADS),which is a naval strategy “that sets out the means and ways on how the PN intends toevolve its current navy into the Navy of the future” that can effectively address external                                                                                                                          71This view is expressed in a working paper prepared in 2004 by the Department of National Defence. SeeOffice of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Special Concerns, The Emerging Security Environment to2022 (Quezon City: Department of National Defence, 14 April 2004).72Armed Forces of the Philippines, The Strategic Direction of the AFP International Military Affairs(Quezon City: AFP Headquarters, 2008), pp. 7-10.73 Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Internal Peace and Security Plan: Bayanihan(Quezon City: Armed Forces of the Philippines, 2010), p. 13.74 Headquarters Philippine Navy, The Philippine Navy Fifteen-Year Equipment Acquisition Plan(Updated Manuscript, 28 April 2009), p. 13.   25  
  25. 25. security challenges to Philippine security.75 The AADS also intends to rationalize “thefuture development of the PN force structure and its most effective employmentfounded on the need to attain Naval Dominance in future battle space.”76 Thedevelopment of AADS is an integral aspect of naval modernization program that aims toenhance PN defensive capacity to confront external security threats. Figure 3 PHILIPPINE ARCHIPELAGIC SEA LANES Source: Philippine Navy, 2010. Maritime Crimes As maritime nation, the Philippines is vulnerable to various maritime crimessuch as piracy, drug smuggling, human trafficking, and illegal arms trade among others.Maritime crimes are considered non-traditional security threats in the Philippines being                                                                                                                          75 The Philippine Navy, “Active Archipelagic Defence Strategy: Strategizing the Future of the PhilippineNavy” (Presented at the Philippine Navy Seminar-Workshop on Formulating an Active ArchipelagicDefence StrategyAt the PN Headquarters, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City on 13-14 May 2009).76 Ibid.   26  
  26. 26. used to justify naval modernization.77 Maritime crimes are high in Sulu and Celebesseas, which are porous and ungoverned triborder sea areas between the littoral states ofPhilippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.78 The Philippines intends to build navalcapabilities to address these problems and help promote good order at sea in SoutheastAsia.79 PN regards the development of a strong navy as vital for the promotion ofPhilippine maritime security against various crimes at sea. Specifically, PN pursuesnaval modernization to protect the Philippines’ archipelagic sea-lanes and upholdPhilippine sovereignty of its archipelagic waters against maritime crimes.80 One effort towards this end is the creation of Coast Watch South (CWS) which isan operational response to combat maritime crimes and other maritime securitychallenges occurring in the waters of the Southern Philippines, particularly in the Sulu-Sulawesi (Celebes) Seas.81 Currently based in Zamboanga City under the operationalcommand of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, CWS aims to uphold inter-agencycoordination and whole-of-government approach in promoting maritime security.Currently being led and funded by PN, the creation of CWS is deemed consistent withnaval modernization in the Philippines as it is a purely PN initiative at present.82 PNintends to make CWS as a template for National Coast Watch System in thePhilippines.83 It is also designed to establish and enhance maritime securitycooperation with Malaysia and Indonesia to combat not only maritime crimes in thelittoral states but also maritime terrorism.                                                                                                                          77 For the authors detailed discussions on maritime crimes affecting Philippine security, see Rommel C.Banlaoi, “Non-Traditional Security Issues in Southeast Asian Maritime Domain: Implications for theIndian Ocean” in VR Raghavan and W Lawrence S. Prabhakar (eds), Maritime Security in the IndianOcean Region: Critical Issues in Debate (New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited,2008), pp. 239-262. Also see Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Maritime Security Threats in Post-911 Southeast Asia:Regional Responses” in Burns, Bateman and Lehr (eds), Llyod’s MIU Handbook of Maritime Security,pp. 253-270.78Ian See Ian Storey, “The Triborder Sea Area: Maritime Southeast Asias Ungoverned Space”, TerrorismMonitor, Volume 5, Issue 19 (24 October 2007).79 Sam Bateman, Joshua Ho and Jane Chan, Good Order at Sea in Southeast Asia (Singapore: RSIS PolicyPaper, April 2009).80 See Eriberto Varona, “Designation of Archipelagic Sea Lanes: The Philippine Navy Perspective”, OceanLaw and Policy Series, Volume I, No. 1 (January-June 1997), pp. 18-20. Also see Jay Batongbacal,“Archipelagic Sea Lanes and Transit Passage Through Straits: Shared Responsibilities are Essential toImplementation”, in Andrew Forbes (ed) The Strategic Importance of Seaborne Trade and Shipping(Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs No. 10, 2003), pp. 99-112.81 Rodel Cruz, “Coast Watch South and Maritime Security in the Tri-Border Area” (Presented at theInternational Forum on Asia Pacific Secruity organized by the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence andTerrorism Research, Dusit Thani Hotel, Manila, 29 October 2010).82 The Philippine Navy, “Coast Watch South: Official Briefing” (Manila: Headquarters of the PhilippineNavy, 2010).83 Ibid.   27  
  27. 27. Maritime Terrorism Since the bombing of MV Superferry 14 in Manila Bay on 27 February 2004, PNhas been upgrading its capability to combat maritime terrorism originating primarilyfrom the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), which has been known to have established links withAl-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah.84 The Navy Sail Plan 2020 and the PN 15-YearEquipment Acquisition Plan assert that thwarting maritime terrorism is one of PNpriorities for modernizing its naval force. PN even conducted the Visit, Board, Searchand Seizure (VBSS) capability drill on 13 March 2010 in Manila Bay to enhancemaritime boarding actions and tactics against maritime terrorism and other maritimecrimes.85 PN has also formed the Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG), whichenhanced and replaced the Special Warfare Action Group (SWAG). There is a need tounderscore that SWAG played a crucial role in the neutralization in 2002 of Abu Sabaya(real name Aldam Tilao), a very notorious ASG commander responsible for a number ofkidnap-for-ransom activities in Mindanao.86 SWAG was renamed as NAVSOG toenhance naval capabilities in countering maritime terrorism. NAVSOG is the Philippineequivalent of the Navy Seals in the United States.                                                                                                                          84 For the author’s elaboration on this topic, see Rommel C. Banlaoi, “The Abu Sayyaf Group: Threat ofMaritime Piracy and Terrorism” in Peter Lehr (ed), Violence at Sea: Piracy in the Age of GlobalTerrorism (London and New York: Routledge, 2007), pp. 121-138. Also see Rommel C. Banlaoi,“Maritime Terrorism in Southeast Asia: The Abu Sayyaf Threat”, Naval War College Review, Volume 58,No. 4 (Autumn 2005), pp. 63-80.85 “Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) Capability Demonstration”, The Philippine Navy Today at <accessed on 18December 2010>86 For more discussions, see Ernesto De Leon, “The Fleet-Marine Teams on the Neutralization of AbuSabaya” in Lessons from Naval Batlles and Operations in the Philippines for PN Doctrines Development(Manila: Headquarters of the Philippine Navy, undated), pp. 128-135.   28  
  28. 28. UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF PHILIPPINE NAVAL MODERNIZATION ON REGIONAL SECURITY Philippine naval modernization program has been viewed as part of the over-alltrends of military build-up occurring in the Asia Pacific region at the end of the coldwar.87 It is also considered as an indication of the prospects of Revolution in MilitaryAffairs (RMA) in Southeast Asia.88 Though military modernization does not equate withmilitary effectiveness, countries in Southeast Asia pursued force modernization forvarious reasons and to varying degrees.89 One of the consequences of military modernization in Southeast Asia is aperceived arms race in the region.90 The trend happened in the 1980s and early 1990swhen the region enjoyed relative economic prosperity. This got the attention ofinternational community to call for arms trade transparency in Southeast Asia.91 ButSoutheast Asian countries reject the concept of arms race to describe militarymodernization in the region. For them, force modernization is simply an attempt toupgrade their obsolete military assets so they can effectively protect their sovereigntyand enhance military capacities to deal with non-traditional security challenges in theera of globalization. While their relative economic prosperity may have encouragedthem to pursue military modernization, the 1997 Asian financial crisis, in fact, delayedall force modernization efforts in Southeast Asia. The Philippines is one of the countries that were greatly affected by the financialcrisis. Though other countries already recovered from the crisis, the Philippines has yetto recover to finance its naval modernization programs. Nonetheless, PN is geared to receive modest funding for naval modernizationthrough the AFP Modernization Act Trust Fund (AFPMATF). PN expects an amount ofP134.5 billion to be used for a period of 20 years. This amount intends to implement PNequipment acquisition program focusing on the purchase of surface warfare, anti-                                                                                                                          87 Desmond Ball, “Arms and Affluence: Military Acquisitions in the Asia Pacific Region”, InternationalSecurity, Volume 18, Number 3 (Winter 1993/1994).88 J.D. Kenneth Boutin, “Prospects for a revolution in military affairs in Southeast Asia”, RSISCommentaries, No. 3 (November 2001).89 Andrew Tan, “Force Modernization Trends in Southeast Asia”, IDSS Working Paper, No. 59 (January2004).90 Amitav Acharya, An Arms Race in Post-Cold War Southeast Asia? Prospects for Control (Singapore:Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1994).91 Edward J. Laurance, “A Conceptual Framework for Arms Trade Transparency in South-East Asia” inGill and Mak, Arms, Transparency and Security in South-East Asia, pp. 10-24.   29  
  29. 29. submarine, coastal patrol, sealift, amphibious, naval air, search and rescue, minecountermeasure operations and command and control, and support systems, upgradingand refurbishing of a number of ships, aircraft, amphibious vehicles, and equipment ofthe naval shipyard.92 As an unintended consequence of the PN Modernization Program, there is aperceived, if not real, heightening of security dilemma in Southeast Asia. Securitydilemma exists when the military preparations of one state create an un-resolvableuncertainty in the mind of another state as to whether those preparations are for“defensive” or “offensive” purposes.93 With the concept of security dilemma associatedwith naval modernization trends, countries in Southeast Asia are trapped in a “guessinggame” situation where decision makers try to speculate on other countries’ strategicintention whether the said intention is benign or malign. States perceptions of securitydilemma create a paradox in which states believe that their security requires theinsecurity of others.94 This difficult situation occurs because of the anarchic nature of internationalsystem where there is the absence of an overarching authority that can regulate thebehaviour of sovereign states. In an anarchic international environment, statesconstantly compete with one another to protect their sovereignty and to pursue theirnational interests.95 Though the state of anarchy can also encourage states to cooperateby building international regimes or constructing international norms, mutualsuspicions continue to describe the reality of international politics. In Southeast Asia, mutual suspicions among states continue to exist because ofstill unresolved bilateral territorial disputes.96 Though Southeast Asian states have theAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to provide various mechanisms for thepeaceful settlement of regional disputes, particularly in the context of an ASEANsecurity community, each of them is still informed by the realist view of internationalrelations where autonomous defence is considered to be necessary for each state to fendfor its own security. Thus, security dilemma is a regional tragedy because war can occur                                                                                                                          92 Headquarters Philippine Navy, The Philippine Navy Fifteen-Year Equipment Acquisition Plan(Updated Manuscript, 28 April 2009), p. 1.93Nicholas J. Wheeler and Ken Booth, “The Security Dilemma” in John Baylis and N.J. Rennger (eds),Dilemmas of World Politics: International Issues in Changing World (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992),pp. 29-60.94Jack Snyder, “Perceptions of the Security Dilemma in 1914” in Robert Jervis, Richard Ned Lebow andJanice Gross (eds), Psychology and Deterrence (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1985), p.155.95For a concept of anarchy, see Robert C. Art and Robert Jervis, International Politics: EnduringConcepts and Contemporary Issues, 4th edition (New York: Harper-Collins College Publishers, 1996), pp.1-148.96 See Narayanan Ganesan, Bilateral Tensions in the Post-Cold War ASEAN (Singapore: Institute ofSoutheast Asian Studies, 1999).   30