Expert calls for 2% increase in defense budget to boost national security
MANILA, Philippines — Increasing the budget to two percent for defense would boost the country’s national security, an expert said on Tuesday.
Dr. Renato de Castro, a professor from De La Salle University, said that the budget hike is among the steps to improve national security under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The challenge for Marcos is “to transform the previous administration’s makeshift strategy of limited hard balancing to a well-thought, comprehensive, and formal National Security Strategy,” he said.
De Castro suggested passing a law that mandates the annual defense budget to be 2 percent of the gross domestic product.
“Diplomacy has to work with military capability. The first approach is to wean the military away from internal security to basically support external and territorial defense,” he said in a forum.
“I think it’s time for the Filipinos to pay the cost of external defense by increasing the share of the defense budget to two percent. A number of countries in Europe have already done it. I think it’s also time that we have to consider this,” he added.
De Castro likewise said that the National Security Council should craft a new National Security Strategy based on the Hague’s ruling in 2016.
Six years ago, the Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea.
De Castro hoped that the new national security adviser would not consider the ruling to be a piece of paper, but rather a guide to the country’s national security strategy.
De Castro also proposed to create a “medium-term guideline that would link the [Armed Forces of the Philippines] modernization program with the defense policies” of the United States, the country’s formal treaty ally, and its security partners.
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