Israeli military firms make push into Philippines

Earlier this year, the Philippines president pledged to buy weapons and military equipment only from Israel. He appears to be keeping his promise as several agreements were recently reached.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

Israeli GAIA Automotive Industries Ltd. is officially establishing a presence in the Philippines after it signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Stone of David Corporation last September for cooperation on the marketing and promotion of tactical vehicles, including technology transfer.

According to the MaxDefense Philippines blog, a GAIA official confirmed that the local branch, which would be officially named GAIA Automotive Philippines, has just been finalized. A local armored vehicle manufacturing and fabrication plant is to open in February 2019, it said.

This is after Stone of David announced in mid-December that its joint venture with GAIA won the Multi-Purpose Armored Personnel Carrier (MPAPC) and Accessories Acquisition Project of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF).

In addition, MaxDefense Philippines confirmed, citing sources, that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has chosen the SPYDER air defense system developed by the Israeli Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

“SPYDER is a quick reaction, low-level surface-to-air missile system designed to counter attacks by aerial threats,” Rafael says on a SPYDER product web page.

It added that the system provides effective protection of valuable assets, as well as first-class defense for forces located in the combat area. “SPYDER incorporates RAFAEL’s most advanced, proven performance air-to-air missiles: the I-Derby active radar missile and Python-5, a dual waveband imaging infrared missile,” says Rafael.

During the PAF change of command ceremony on December 21, former PAF chief Lieutenant General Galileo Gerard Kintanar Jr. said that among the major acquisition projects that are nearing conclusion in early 2019 is the acquisition of three ground-based air defense systems (GBADS) from Israel.

On a visit to Israel in September, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte told President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that from now on his country would buy weapons only from Israel due to its lack of restrictions. He said that he had directed his military personnel to purchase weapons and military equipment exclusively from Israel.

According to a statement, Duterte praised Israel for helping the Philippines win its war on terror and said that Jerusalem had helped his country regarding intelligence matters on a number of occasions.