ASEAN’s weakest military force is the Philippines.

Senior Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr., who heads the Department of National Defense, admitted on Monday that the country’s military might be one of the region’s weakest.

However, he emphasized that they are trying to modernize to strengthen their position. He referred to their treaty partners and like-minded countries, stressing that they would like to see a rules-based international order in those areas.

Before proceeding with the EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) sites, the country must consider certain constitutional provisions and national laws.

In particular, the Armed Forces should be able to answer questions made by legislators before the House Committee on National Defense and Security. For example, queries about why the Philippines, in particular the Armed Forces, could not prevent China from building structures in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and why funding for the AFP’s (Armed Forces of the Philippines) modernization program is so critical.

US-Philippines Alliance
(Source: Official U.S. Navy Page/Wikimedia)

The other DND (Department of National Defense) official said they are open to a joint venture using a new military property. However, he said that the properties would not be sold.

“I would not say that we are a pushover. Admittedly, our military capability is one of the weakest in the region. It is exactly why we are trying to modernize right now. We are trying to strengthen our position. We are aligning with our treaty partners and like-minded countries. We would like to have a rules-based international order in those areas,” he said.

Surigao del Norte Second District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said it is best to show China that the Philippines is not a coward.