MANILA -- The Philippines will start accepting bids in February for the supply of P7 billion (US$143.15 million; euro110.35 million) worth of equipment to modernize the country's military to fight terrorists and other enemies, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said Wednesday.
The acquisitions will be part of a P10 billion (US$204.5 million; euro157.64 million) procurement Arroyo earlier approved to modernize the armed forces, one of the most poorly-equipped in Asia.
The government has 15 items on its shopping list, including a multipurpose attack gunboat, automatic weapons, global positioning systems, aerial mapping cameras, night capable attack helicopters, bomb suits and radios.
"For the month of February, we are ready for the formal submission and opening of bids," Arroyo said in a statement. "I am confident that the notices to proceed will be issued by the middle of March 2007."
She said the items are in addition to the contracts approved last year to upgrade three patrol vessels, two patrol gunboats and two Britten Norman Islander aircraft worth P707 million (US$14.5 million; euro11.15 million).
The modernization program will "equip our soldiers with the military hardware necessary to sustain internal security operations, including AFP's anti-terrorism campaign, and address other nontraditional security threats," she said, referring to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.