The US has provided $100 million in foreign military funding to the Philippines as compensation for the nation’s decision to scrap a helicopter deal with Russia.
US Ambassador to Manila MaryKay Carlson said during a recent press conference that the Philippine military can use the funding “as they wish.”
It could help the Southeast Asian country bolster its defense capabilities and modernize its armed forces.
With the aid, the Philippines has received a total of $1.14 billion in funding and military equipment from the US since 2015.
The nation is the largest beneficiary of foreign military aid in the Indo-Pacific region.
Canceled Russian Helicopter Deal
Earlier this year, the Philippines scrapped a deal to acquire 16 Mi-17 multi-purpose helicopters from Russia due to fears of possible Western sanctions.
Then-President Rodrigo Duterte approved the 12.7-billion-peso ($227 million) agreement, and the work was supposed to be completed in two years.
However, former defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana commented that pushing forward with the contract could put Manila at risk of being penalized under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CATSA).
CATSA is a US law prohibiting countries from purchasing Russian military weapons and equipment.
The Philippines is considering purchasing US-made heavy-lift aircraft such as the Chinook helicopter.
“I think it was really prudent specially for President Duterte to approve the cancellation of that contract because it can save us a lot of trouble,” Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Romualdez explained.