“Philippines is proposing a 14 percent increase in defence spending”

The Philippines is proposing a 14 percent increase in defence spending next year to buy new ships and aircraft to boost its fight against Islamist militants and enhance maritime security in the disputed South China Sea. According to internal documents seen by Reuters on Monday, about 130 billion pesos ($2.8 billion) or 96 percent of the proposed defense budget, would go to the armed forces. The push to beef up military spending reflects regional concern about China’s maritime assertiveness and the new government’s determination to crush the entrenched and lucrative network of the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf rebels behind a spree of kidnappings. Some 25 billion pesos would go to a modernization programme, the Department of National Defence said in the documents, including the acquisition of two surveillance planes and six close-air support planes to fight Abu Sayyaf”.

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