US senators seek $500 million aid for AFP

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
US senators seek $500 million aid for AFP
More than 2,000 members of Philippine and Australian defense forces and US marine corps aviation from marine rotational forces conduct military exercises as they participate in the first Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2023 amphibious operation at the Naval Station in San Antonio, Zambales on August 25, 2023.
KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — Two American senators have filed a measure seeking to boost the alliance of the Philippines and the US through a significant increase in military financing as concerns grow over China’s aggressive acts in the South China Sea.

The proposed Philippines Enhanced Resilience Act of 2024 filed by Senators Bill Hagerty and Tim Kaine allows $500 million in foreign military financing grant to the Philippines for each fiscal year, 2025 through 2029. This is equivalent to $2.5 billion in US security assistance to the Philippines over five fiscal years.

The measure requires the US Secretary of State, in coordination with the US Secretary of Defense, to submit an annual spending plan to Congress, on how the US government will spend the foreign military financing as security aid to the Philippines.

“As the United States and the Philippines face growing challenges to security and prosperity in the West Philippine Sea and the wider Indo-Pacific region, it’s critical for our two nations to deepen cooperation and raise our decades-long alliance to even greater heights,” Hagerty said in a statement.

Hagerty said the bill, which was filed on April 10, would significantly increase US security assistance to the Philippines and “profoundly strengthen and modernize the defense and deterrence capabilities” of the two countries’ alliance.

Kaine said China’s aggression toward the Philippines “threatens the security and stability of the entire region.”

“It is pivotal that the people of the Philippines have the resources and support they need in the face of those threats. As a member of the foreign relations and armed services committees, I will continue to work to link arms with our allies and build a safe and stable future,” Kaine said.

The measure requires the US state secretary, in consultation with the US defense secretary and other appropriate officials, to submit an annual report to Congress on steps taken to enhance the defense ties between Manila and Washington.

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