Improved Manila-Rome defense ties eyed

The Department of National Defense said the Philippines will continue strengthening its bilateral ties and further develop defense relations with the Italian government.

This, after Italian Ambassador to Manila Marco Clemente, has expressed its intention to support the  Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization program.

Clemente made this remark in a courtesy call with the DND officer-in-charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. last Tuesday, noting that he will continue to work on promoting Philippines-Italy bilateral relations.

DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said, in a statement on Thursday, that the officials also recalled the successful acquisition of AgustaWestland helicopters for the Philippine Navy and attack helicopters for the Philippine Air Force during their meeting.

“Ambassador expressed the Italian government’s readiness to continuously support the capability-upgrade program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Andolong said, referring to AW-109 helicopters which serve as attack and combat utility helicopters by the PN and PAF.

The Philippine Navy acquired two attack versions of the AW-109 along with three combat utility versions of the aircraft while the PAF has eight.

These helicopters were delivered from 2013 to 2016.

“The two sides committed to work on a framework of cooperation to further enhance logistics cooperation between the Philippines and Italy,” Andolong said.

Further, Clemente congratulated Faustino on his appointment to the DND.

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